Ivory Coast army chief linked with Burkina Faso’s failed coup

Ivory Coast army chief linked with Burkina Faso’s failed coup

Saturday, January 23, 2016 12:46 pm


General Soumaila Bakayoko, Ivory Coast army chief

General Soumaila Bakayoko, Ivory Coast army chief, linked with Burkina Faso’s botched coup

Ivory Coast’s army chief, General Soumaila Bakayoko encouraged the failed coup leader in neighbouring Burkina Faso to seize power last year.

Reuters reported today that  a recording of a conversation between Bakayako and now arrested General Gilbert Diendere  is now in the hands of Burkina Faso judicial authorities.

The recording’s emergence comes after Burkina Faso issued an arrest warrant for Ivory Coast’s parliament speaker Guillaume Soro for alleged links to the coup, further straining relations between the two neighbours.

Burkina Faso authorities issued the warrant against Soro for crimes including complicity in treason last week on the basis of another recorded phone conversation.

Two Burkina Faso judicial officials vouched for the authenticity of the latest recording, obtained by Reuters on Friday. Ivorian authorities were not immediately available to comment.

Recorded at a time when loyalist troops were turning the tables against the putsch, a voice allegedly belonging to  Bakayoko asks coup leader Gilbert Diendere for an update of the situation.

“The situation is a bit difficult,” Diendere responds. “Among the officers there is some hesitation. I’m not saying I’m all alone. But many are very hesitant for their future.”

Later, Bakayoko urges Diendere to go on the offensive or risk seeing the coup fail.

“They’re going to pin it all on you. You have to know that. Politically, they are going to say ‘You have the highest rank. You are the general,” Bakayoko says.

“You are constrained to take action. So carry out something good.”

Last September’s brief coup by the elite Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) temporarily derailed Burkina Faso’s transition to democratic rule after President Blaise Compaore was ousted in late 2014.

It failed after a week when loyalist regular army troops marched into the capital Ouagadougou and Diendere, Compaore’s former spy chief, was arrested.

Compaore was driven from power and forced to flee Burkina Faso in October 2014 after a popular uprising following his attempt to alter the constitution to extend his 27-year rule. He now lives in exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast.

The two nations, once part of the same French colony share a history of close, often fraught, economic and political ties.

 

 

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