Burkina Faso Merchants Join Protest Fray

Published on Saturday 16th April 2011

Unrest in Burkina Faso is continuing for a third day with soldiers shooting into the air and looting shops while merchants riot against the damages they have suffered. Hundreds of shopkeepers set fire to the headquarters of Burkina Faso's ruling party Saturday, saying they were angry at soldiers who looted and destroyed their merchandise and at the government that did not stopped it. Some protesters said they wanted the government to reimburse them for their lost goods. The Defense Ministry Saturday announced a curfew until Sunday morning in an attempt to quiet the streets. The unrest began Thursday night as soldiers rose up at the presidential compound in Ouagadougou and spread Friday to other army bases in the city.  The soldiers said they are angry because their housing and food allowances have not been paid. Responding to the mutiny Friday, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore dissolved his government and named a new army chief.  Compaore also removed the head of presidential security. Burkina Faso has been the scene of other protests since the start of the year.Last month, soldiers in the capital fired into the air to protest sentences handed down to five fellow soldiers convicted of beating a civilian. In February, students held violent protests following the death of a student in police custody.President Compaore has ruled the country since seizing power in a 1987 coup.  He was re-elected for another term in November.Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.



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