New Burkina Faso premier named after soldier riots

Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore appointed a former journalist and ambassador to France as the new prime minister, hoping to restore stability after a series of violent protests by soldiers.

Compaore had sacked his government on Friday after members of his own presidential guard went on a rampage in the capital of the impoverished West African state, firing their weapons in the air, looting shops and commandeering cars.

A decree made public late on Monday named Burkina’s 56-year-old ambassador to France, Luc Adolphe Tiao, as the new prime minister.

A spokesperson for Compaore’s presidential security regiment appeared on television on Monday night calling on soldiers to stop their protests and apologising to the public for the “inconveniences” caused during Friday’s riots.

“We condemn the vandalism, the looting and the troubles that have taken place over the past few days,” Moussa Ag Abdoulaye, a low-ranking soldier, said in the statement read out on television.

Mass protests
Since mid-March, the capital and outlying towns have been roiled by unrest. Protests by soldiers over pay have been joined by angry students, business people, and residents taking to the streets against rising food prices, police brutality and crime.

Burkina Faso has been under Compaore’s tight rule since he took power in a 1987 coup and has so far avoided the conflicts and upheavals seen in many of its neighbours.

He won a new five-year term in office after taking 80% of the votes in an election last November, but analysts say increasing pressure from the military and the civilian population has weakened his grip on power. — Reuters

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