Burkina president sacks two ministers over massacres

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore is the frontrunner in November's elections, despite his failures to end jihadist attacks (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso sacked two of his ministers on Wednesday over recent massacres there that have provoked protest among civilians over growing insecurity.

Kabore himself took over from Cheriff Sy as defence minister, while he appointed Maxime Kone as security minister in place of Ousseni Compaore, according to two statements from the government.

A cabinet meeting will be held on Thursday at the presidential palace to confirm all members of the government, a spokesman said.

Earlier this month, the opposition called for the resignation of Prime Minister Christophe Dabire and Sy to take responsibility for the rising tide of jihadist violence.

Burkina Faso has faced increasingly frequent and deadly attacks by jihadist groups since 2015. These have killed around 1,500 people and forced almost 1.5 million to flee their homes.

Security forces in the impoverished west African country seem powerless to stop the violence, although they regularly claim to have carried out successful operations against these groups.

Two suspected jihadists including a local commander were detained after the massacre, the public prosecutor said on Tuesday.

An attack on the village of Solhan on the night of June 4 by armed men – including “young people aged 12 to 14” according to the authorities – killed at least 132 people according to the government. The toll was 160 according to local sources, including many children.

Angry demonstrations by thousands of Burkinabe against the violence have already taken place across the country and more are planned for next weekend at the call of the opposition and civil society.

On Tuesday, the Balai Citoyen citizens’ advocacy group filed a complaint against the government for “non-assistance to persons in danger” during the Solhan attack.

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