Burkina Faso coup leader handed over to government


The leader of a short-lived coup in Burkina Faso, General Gilbert Diendere, was handed over to authorities on Thursday after seeking refuge in the Vatican embassy, sources in the transitional government said on Thursday.

Diendere, a former spy chief, was at the head of a week-long power-grab by Burkina Faso’s powerful presidential guard last month, during which the interim president and prime minister were held hostage.

He had sought sanctuary in the embassy in the recent days after the transitional government – tasked with guiding Burkina Faso to elections this month – was returned to power amid international pressure and popular protests.
“He has been handed over to Burkinabe authorities,” said a judicial source close to the transitional government.

A military source said Jean Baptiste Ouedraogo, the former president of Burkina Faso, escorted the former putschist to Ouagadougou’s main gendarmerie camp in a heavily armed convoy.

Earlier, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida had said the government had provided guarantees to the Vatican embassy that Diendere’s life would be respected if he was handed over. Zida said he would be handed to judicial authorities.

Diendere said he had led the coup because of proposals to dismantle the elite presidential guard and to exclude allies of deposed president Blaise Compaore from running in this month’s scheduled presidential election.