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Burkina Faso wakes to find new junta rulers, closed borders

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO (AP) – People in Burkina Faso awoke to a new military-led junta yesterday, after mutinous soldiers ousted democratically elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and seized control of the country.

Days of gunfire and uncertainty in the capital, Ouagadougou, ended on Monday evening when more than a dozen soldiers on state media declared that the country is being run by their new organisation, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration.

Many residents of the capital appeared pleased by the coup and celebrations were held yesterday, but regional African leaders and international bodies condemned the military takeover.

The junta closed the borders, imposed a curfew, suspended the constitution and dissolved the government and Parliament and said it would return Burkina Faso to constitutional order, but did not specify when. The soldiers said the overthrown president is safe, but did not reveal where he is being held. A publicly circulated resignation letter signed by Kabore said that he was quitting his office in the best interest of the country.

The coup comes after months of growing frustration at the Kabore government’s inability to stem an extremist insurgency that’s wracked the country, killing thousands and displacing 1.5 million people. However, it’s unclear what might change under the new junta, as the ill-equipped military has struggled to battle the extremists linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

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