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Burkina Faso coup plotter handed over to civilian authorities

A majority of elite troops behind a failed coup attempt have accepted new posts after their regiment was disbanded. A military standoff has ended peacefully as the country plans elections.

The military officer who took power in a recent short-lived coup and then

sought refuge inside the Vatican embassy

is now in custody, the ministry of defense said Thursday.

General Gilbert Diendere, who stepped down after about a week in power, was handed over to the gendarmerie, according to the defense ministry spokesman Boureima Ouedraogo.

Earlier, interim Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida said the government had provided guarantees that Diendere's life would be spared if he was handed over.

"Over 800 men" out of the 1,300 in the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) that staged the September 17 coup have taken up new postings, a source in the army high command told AFP.

The regiment, which was loyal to deposed President Blaise Compaore, was dissolved last week and all its members assigned to other units.

Those who have yet to join loyalist units have until Friday to show up at their new postings, failing which "they will be considered deserters," the source said. Some "diehards and leaders" were still being sought by authorities.

Army chief of staff General Pingrenoma Zagre said "many" of the plotters had left their barracks before

the army stormed their camp on Tuesday: to end a nearly two-week-long standoff.

Civilian rule restored

Burkina Faso Ouagadougou Übergangsregierung Präsident Michel Kafando

Burkina Faso's interim President Michel Kafando. He was taken hostage during a coup a week ago, but returned to power Wednesday in a civilian transitional government.

"We managed to overcome this without any casualties," interim President Michel Kafando told reporters Wednesday.

The European Union hailed the end of the standoff, urging the government to hold elections as soon as possible.

"The end of the clashes is an important step towards normalizing the situation in Burkina Faso," the EU's foreign affairs office said in a statement. "The first task now is to organize as quickly as possible, credible, transparent and free elections."

Earlier, at least 10 people were killed and more than 100 injured in protests triggered by the coup. It happened just weeks before the first elections scheduled to be held since Compaore's 2014 ouster after 27 years of authoritarian rule.

The first round of voting had been scheduled for October 11 but officials have said there will be a delay of several weeks due to the coup attempt.

jar/kms (AFP, Reuters)

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