Monday, April 18, 2011

"Military mutiny spreads in Burkina Faso"


Blaise Compaore, president of Burkina Faso, addresses the general debate of the 64thth session of the General Assembly. Sept. 25, 2009. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Marco Castro. Flickr/UN Photo.

I'm quoted in Brahima Ouedraogo and Carley Petesch's Associate Press story about Burkina Faso. Here are the quotes:
"There's pent-up concern and hostility that's been simmering for a long time," said David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador to the country.

Shinn, who is an adjunct professor of international affairs at George Washington University, said it is likely the early protests by students were inspired by developments in Tunisia and other north African countries that have seen regime changes.

There was no indication the student unrest and the mutiny by soldiers was being coordinated, but together they pose the most vocal challenge to Compaore's rule in more than a decade.

Shinn said the last time Compaore faced such uprisings was after the killing of Norbert Zongo, the publisher of a popular weekly. Zongo died on Dec. 13, 1998, in a mysterious car fire while investigating the torture and killing of the chauffeur for Compaore's younger brother, Francois. His killing was never solved.

...Shinn and others say it is unclear whether the unrest will bring down Compaore. Shinn said he might be simply buying time with his government reshuffle and other moves, and that the soldiers who are mutinying have narrower, more personal concerns than who is in power.

"I doubt the soldiers are concerned about who are running certain ministries," he said. "Generally speaking, soldiers are interested in more mundane things such as pay and living circumstances."

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