March 31, 2011 / 6:18 AM / 9 years ago

Burkina's Compaore to meet army over protests

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Burkina Faso president’s said he would meet disgruntled army officers and the head of the armed forces announced a curfew after a series of protests, but appeals for calm went unheeded on Wednesday as soldiers continued to protest.

President of Burkina Faso Blaise Campaore in a file photo. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Shots were fired into the air in some neighbourhoods and the mayor’s residence in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital, was wrecked, witnesses said early on Wednesday.

President Blaise Compaore agreed to meet army officers to discuss their grievances following a week of violent protest by soldiers in the landlocked West African nation over the arrest of a colleague.

The military unrest, which began in Ouagadougou on the night of March 22, has spread to other military bases in parts of the country including Fada-Ngourma, some 230 km (143 miles) from the capital on Monday.

In a televised address on Wednesday, Compaore agreed to meet officers from Thursday but said “strong measures” would be taken to protect the population and secure property.

The head of Burkina Faso’s armed forces announced in a communique a nationwide curfew from 2100 GMT to 0600 GMT starting on Wednesday, though it was unclear how the curfew would be enforced.

While the president’s speech was being broadcast, witnesses said shots were heard in Bobo Dioulasso, the country’s second-largest city.

The soldiers have ransacked and looted both public and private property and there haver been reports of injuries.

“The behaviour observed recently in some parts is inconsistent with military ethics, the sacred principles of the republic and has tarnished the image of the defence forces,” Campaore added.

Burkina Faso has been under his tight rule since 1987 and has been spared the conflicts and upheavals seen in many of its regional neighbours.

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