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Burkina Faso charges coup leader with crimes against humanity

Burkina Faso's General Gilbert Diendere will be tried for crimes against humanity committed during a short-lived coup he led in September. The military justice chief said the general could receive the death penalty.

Colonel Sita Sangare, director of Burkina Faso's military justice, announced on Friday that the leader of a

short-lived coup in September

would stand trial for 11 charges, including crimes against humanity.

"General Diendere is being prosecuted for crimes against humanity ... We have formally charged 23 people," said Sangare.

Diendere will also stand trial for murder and attacking national security.

"The possible sentences could include the death penalty if it is established that murder was preceded by cruel treatment or followed by acts of cruelty," Sangare noted.

Former security and foreign minister Djibril Bassole is also expected to stand trial, although only facing six charges.

Both Diendere and Bassole served under former President Blaise Compaore, who ruled the West African nation until last year after taking power through a coup in 1987, during which revolutionary and former Burkinabe President Thomas Sankara was killed.

Civilians protest Burkina Faso's coup lead by Diendere

Civilians protest Burkina Faso's coup lead by Diendere

On September 16, Diendere and the

elite presidential guard

arrested the transitional government, including President Miche Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida.

During Diendere's week-long rule, 14 people were killed while 251 people were injured during anti-coup protests, according to government figures.

The transitional government was reinstated on September 23 after

Diendere stepped down lacking popular support.

On Wednesday, the interim government announced that presidential and parliamentary elections would go ahead on November 29 after the original October 8 date was postponed because of the unrest.

ls/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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