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Burkina Faso Coup Leader Faces Crimes Against Humanity



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

The Burkina Faso general who took power after last month’s coup has been charged with crimes against humanity, the military prosecutor said Friday, adding that 23 others have also been charged in the coup.

Gen. Gilbert Diendere had already been charged with 10 other counts earlier this month, including attacking national security and assassination.

Prosecutor Col. Sita Sangare on Friday did not say when the new charge was added, but he said Diendere will ultimately stand trial before a military tribunal. According to the prosecutor, the assassination count can lead to a death penalty sentence if the act has been done with “cruelty.”

Sangare said others hit with charges included Diendere’s wife, Fatou Diendere, a parliamentary member of the former ruling party. The two were also among 14 people whose assets were frozen after the short-lived coup.

The West Africa nation’s elite presidential guard arrested interim President Michel Kafando and interim Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida on Sept. 16. Diendere later took power, but stepped down after about a week under pressure from the West African regional bloc, Burkina Faso’s military and protesting citizens. The country’s transitional government was reinstalled on Sept. 23.

The presidential guard staged the coup because it was unhappy that supporters of former President Blaise Compaore, ousted in a popular uprising in October 2014 after ruling for nearly 30 years, couldn’t run in the election.

The presidential guard was later disbanded and Diendere was taken into custody. He is being held at a military prison in the capital, Ouagadougou, along with others, including former Foreign Affairs Minister Djibril Bassole, who denies involvement.

New elections have been set for Nov. 29.

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