With the weekend unrest in landlocked Burkina Faso culminating in sporadic gunfire around the presidential palace, President Roc Marc Christian Kaboré has been reportedly arrested by mutinous soldiers.
Since a lone tweet congratulating the Burkinabe national team, the Stallions for qualifying to the quarterfinals of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon on Sunday evening, President Kaboré had not been heard from.
His silence fueled speculations that he has been arrested by mutinous soldiers who were involved in an insurrection – a coup in the making – that was characterised by gunfire in several parts of the country including near the president’s residence in the capital Ouagadougou.
Just like it happened in neighbouring Mali when late president Ibrahim Boubabacar Keita was detained and eventually forced to resign, reports say the mutineers are demanding Kaboré’s resignation.
Reports also say the president has resigned although this cannot be independently verified.
However, Defence Minister Barthélémy Simporé has been defiant, saying the situation in the country has been normal.
Burkinabe citizens were told that the apparent coup had failed and President Kaboré in power since 2015 was still very much in charge of the country.
A night-time curfew has been declared across the country.
Burkina Faso has been battling insurgents since Kabore took charge of the country after the first democratic elections since veteran leader Blaise Compaoré was deposed in a popular uprising in 2014.
Rebel soldiers are demanding the removal of the army chief of staff and leadership of the intelligence service, improved welfare for army combatants wounded in battle and the deployment of sufficient troops to deal with the seven-year insurgency.
Simporé described the disturbances that took place in military camps in the capital and the towns of Kaya and Ouahigouya in the north of the country as isolated incidents which have not threatened state institutions.
Although he encouraged citizens to go about their normal business, the internet has been shut down since Sunday.
As of Monday morning the state television appeared to be on normal programming.
However, citizens are desperate to hear news of President Kabore in order to feel assured that the situation in and around the country has not been as bad as several reports seem to suggest.
Since November last year, there has been a series of protests about the government’s handling of the insurgency with dozens of protesters arrest after the latest demonstrations on Saturday.