Burkina coup leader defies ultimatum

Troops from around Burkina Faso have converged on the capital

Troops from around Burkina Faso have converged on the capital

Burkina Faso’s coup leader has defied an ultimatum to step down, saying his forces will retaliate if attacked.

Army chiefs had given Gen Gilbert Diendere a 10:00 GMT deadline to surrender or face an assault.

The army has ordered anti-coup protesters in the capital, Ouagadougou, to return home, amid fears of fighting.

Gen Diendere seized power last week with the backing of the presidential guard, but the army has remained loyal to the deposed government.

Its troops have entered the capital, vowing to retake it. The European Union (EU) has called on the presidential guard to immediately lay down their weapons to avoid bloodshed.

Regional leaders are holding crisis talks in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, to discuss a peace plan for the former French colony.

At least 10 people have been killed and more than 100 injured since the coup in clashes between the presidential guard and protesters.

Fear is now growing in Ouagadougou that fighting could erupt between the army and presidential guard, reports the BBC’s Maud Jullien from the city.

Gen Diendere staged the coup after opposing moves to integrate the presidential guard into the army.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital, he said he did not want bloodshed, but would defend himself if attacked.

Earlier, an army officer said talks with Gen Diendere had broken down.

“He wants a fight,” said the officer, who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity.

–BBC

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