Burkina Faso Foiled Coup Plan by Former Presidential Guards

(Bloomberg) -- Burkina Faso said it thwarted a plan by former soldiers of an elite army unit to overthrow the government and free a military leader who was responsible for a short-lived coup last year.

About 30 men from the now-disbanded presidential guard planned a coup on Oct. 8, Security Minister Simon Compaore told reporters Friday in the capital, Ouagadougou. He said they wanted to attack the presidential palace and a military camp where Gilbert Diendere is jailed, a high-ranking officer who seized power in a brief coup that failed because the army didn’t support it.

At least 19 soldiers have been arrested and two former presidential guards were killed in an altercation with security forces, Compaore said. He didn’t specify when the arrests occurred.

Africa’s fourth-ranking gold producer held elections in November last year after the brief military takeover. The presidential guard unit, known by its French acronym RSP, was dismantled because it was seen as key in supporting the regime of ex-President Blaise Compaore, who ruled the West African nation for 27 years until he was ousted amid mass protests in 2014.