U.S. Calls for Release of President in Burkina Faso Coup

Image: Protesters chant slogans against the presidential guard in Ouagadougou
Protesters chant slogans against the presidential guard in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.JOE PENNEY / Reuters

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By Reuters

The United States has called for the immediate release of Burkina Faso's interim president, prime minister and other leaders after they were arrested by the presidential guard on Wednesday.

"The United States strongly condemns any attempt to seize power through extra-constitutional means or resolve internal political disagreements using force," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also expressed outrage after the presidential guard burst into a cabinet meeting. It comes less than a month before an election to complete a transition back to democracy after a popular uprising toppled Burkina's long-time ruler last year.

"The Secretary-General is outraged by reports of the detention of President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida of Burkina Faso," Ban's press office said in a statement. "The Secretary-General calls for their immediate release. This incident is a flagrant violation of Burkina Faso's Constitution and Transitional Charter."

The U.N. Security Council also "condemned in the strongest terms" the detentions and demanded the immediate release of all the government officials being held.

"The members of the Security Council urged all actors in Burkina Faso to refrain from any violence," the 15-nation council added in the statement, which diplomats said was drafted by France.