Burkina Faso capital under curfew after army mutiny

Smoke billows over Ouagadougou after traders riot in the Burkina Faso capital, 16 April Key sites in the capital were targeted by rioting traders on Saturday

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Authorities in the west African state of Burkina Faso have placed the capital Ouagadougou under curfew as unrest continues after a mutiny in the army.

Restrictions on movement were being imposed between 1900 (1900 GMT) and 0600, starting on Saturday, the security ministry said.

Market traders set the ruling party's headquarters on fire earlier in protest at looting by mutineers.

President Blaise Compaore sacked his government after the mutiny.

He also named a new army chief and fired the head of his presidential guard, the elite unit involved in the revolt, which reportedly began over unpaid housing allowances.

While the mutiny appears to have died down after promises to pay the outstanding monies, Mr Compaore, a former coup leader in power since 1987, faces wider public unrest over food prices.

The struggling country of 16.3 million has also been affected by turmoil in its richer neighbour, Ivory Coast.

'Fed up'

On the day the curfew was announced, the former colonial ruler, France, warned its citizens not to travel to the country.

Start Quote

We are angry at the soldiers who have looted our stores, and also at the government that is doing nothing to stop the looting”

End Quote Abdoulaye Mobile phone vendor in Ouagadougou

"The situation in Burkina Faso, especially Ouagadougou, is currently marked by tension due to the soldiers' protest," the foreign ministry said, adding that travellers also faced an increased risk of highway robbery and kidnapping.

Forty-five people have been taken to hospital with injuries, some from bullets, and there have been a number of cases of rape, a source at the main hospital in Ouagadougou told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

As well as setting the ruling party's HQ alight, traders attacked the National Assembly, the trade ministry and other public buildings in Ouagadougou, setting vehicles on fire.

"We are angry at the soldiers who have looted our stores, and also at the government that is doing nothing to stop the looting," Abdoulaye, a mobile phone vendor who declined to give his second name, told Reuters news agency.

"Among us are people who have lost everything... and do not even know yet whether they will be reimbursed. We're fed up."

Another protester said the president was "solely responsible" for the unrest.

"He trained his guards and they pillage us," Oumarou Belem told AFP, urging Mr Compaore to "leave power to those who can manage".

On Thursday, hours before the mutiny, thousands of people staged a protest against the high cost of living in one of the biggest rallies seen for many years in Ouagadougou.

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