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Burkina Faso president vows to uphold demcoracy

December 29, 2015

The land-locked African country, with virtually no democratic history, has sworn in a freely elected president: Roch Marc Kabore. A day earlier some 20 soldiers were arrested for plotting to free an accused coup plotter.

Burkina Faso's new president Roch Marc Kaboré
Image: Getty Images/AFP/I. Sanogo

Burkina Faso's constitutional court swore in Roch Marc Kabore as president on Tuesday, making the former prime minister the country's first new leader in decades following his election last month.

The ceremony conducted at a stadium in the capital marks a pivotal moment in a democratic transition in the West African country after veteran leader Blaise Compaore was overthrown in a popular uprising in October 2014.

Kabore called his election, after a chaotic transition, a triumph for "democracy and freedom."

Blaise Campaore who ruled Burkina Faso as president for 27 years, was ousted in a coup in 2014.
Ousted President Blaise CompaoreImage: AP Photo

Kabore, 58, won the November 29 presidential elections with more than 53 percent of the votes.

Also a former speaker of parliament, Kabore left the former ruling party in January 2014, when then President Compaore tried to amend the constitution to seek another term in office.

As Burkina Faso's new president, Kabore said he will defend "justice and equity," and warned that the popular insurrection of October 2014 was due to "a lack of justice and truth."

Kabore is the second elected civilian of nine presidents to rule Burkina Faso since the West African country gained independence in 1960.

A short-lived coup

His swearing in comes just one day after authorities arrested around 20 soldiers for plotting to free from prison a prominent general who has been charged with staging a coup, said Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida.

The short-lived coup in September shows the continued tension between the government and supporters of ousted President Compaore.

During the coup led by General Gilbert Diendere troops from the presidential guard took transitional President Michel Kafando and the prime minister hostage.

The coup failed, the presidential guard was disbanded, and Diendere was arrested and charged with murder, threatening state security and crimes against humanity. He is still in detention.

"The young soldiers were thinking that they could free General Gilbert Diendere and re-establish the presidential guard. It is absurd," Zida said.

"We have proceeded with arrests to make them understand that a project such as theirs, even before it has been carried out, is doomed to fail," he said, without giving details of the plot.

Diendere was the intelligence chief and right hand man of Compaore who was overthrown by protesters angry at his attempt to change the constitution so that he could stay in power.

Diendere was charged last month over the murder of President Thomas Sankara, who died in 1987 in the coup that brought Compaore to power. Authorities have also issued an international arrest warrant for Compaore.

bik/jil (Reuters, AP)