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Burkina Faso's transitional president Michel Kafando attends the official handover ceremony returning him to office, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sept. 23, 2015 (AP photo).

Unsung Hero: Popular Resistance Key to Defeating Burkina Faso Coup

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015

Exactly a week after he was taken hostage by soldiers from Burkina Faso’s elite presidential guard during a short-lived coup led by Gen. Gilbert Diendere and other loyalists of former President Blaise Compaore, transitional President Michel Kafando officially returned to office on Sept. 23. He thanked international mediators from neighboring West African states, the African Union and the United Nations for helping to isolate the coup with their condemnations and threats of sanctions, and praised the loyalty of the regular armed forces.

Kafando also highlighted a key factor that received only limited media attention during the week-long crisis: the “national clamor” against the coup by Burkina Faso’s youth, civil society groups and others—an opposition expressed in daily demonstrations and a 10-day general strike led by trade unions. Alluding to earlier mass demonstrations that helped topple Compaore’s autocratic government a year ago, Kafando observed that the people’s resistance to the recent takeover attempt “demonstrates that the heightened consciousness that guided the insurrection has not diminished, to the contrary.” ...

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