Three soldiers in Burkina Faso have been arrested and charged with plotting against the ruling junta, the country’s military prosecutor said on Friday.
Investigators last month received a tipoff about “soldiers and former soldiers working in intelligence” who were scouting out the homes and other locations used by key figures in the junta, including strongman Captain Ibrahim Traore, he said in a statement.
Their goal was to “destabilise… the transition”, it said, referring to a term used to describe interim military rule before promised elections.
Investigations led to the arrest of the three, who have been ordered detained by an examining magistrate.
They have been charged with involvement in a “military plot, breach of military orders, plotting against state security, criminal association and endangerment”, military prosecutor Major Alphonse Zorma said in the statement.
The three were named as Warrant Officer Windinmalegde Kabore; Sergeant Brice Ismael Ramde; and former corporal Sami Dah, who had previously been convicted in a plot against the state in 2015.
“(They) unequivocally admitted the facts,” said Zorma.
The impoverished Sahel state is one of Africa’s most turbulent countries, enjoying few periods of stability since gaining independence from France in 1960 as the Republic of Upper Volta.
Last year, it experienced two coups, both of them fuelled by anger within the military over the toll from a long-running jihadist insurgency.
Traore took power on September 30, 2022, at the age of just 34, making him the world’s youngest leader outside of royalty.
He toppled Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who little more than eight months earlier had ousted Burkina’s elected president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
READ ALSO: UK Police Probe ‘Inside Job’ Theory For Terror Suspect Escape
Shortly after Traore’s takeover, military prosecutors in December said there had been an attempt to “destabilise state institutions”.
Those behind it, they said, were civilians and a lieutenant-colonel named Emmanuel Zoungrana.
More than 16,000 civilians, troops and police in Burkina Faso have died since jihadists in neighbouring Mali launched their campaign in 2015, according to an NGO monitor called the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).
More than two million people have been forced to flee their homes, creating one of Africa’s worst internal displacement crises.
Traore has promised a return to democracy with presidential elections by July 2024.