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Burkina: activists arrested for "inciting an armed crowd"

Burkina: activists arrested for "inciting an armed crowd"
Police officers in Ouagadougou, 3 July 2021   -  
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Burkina Faso

Six people, including civil society actors in Burkina Faso, were arrested and placed in police custody for "criminal association", "disclosure of false information" and "incitement to an armed or unarmed crowd", announced Prosecutor Harouna Yoda on Sunday.

In early May, the Criminal Investigations Division (DIC) launched an investigation after the broadcast of audio messages on social networks calling for the burning of the palace of Mogho Naaba, the traditional leader of the Mossis, the majority ethnic group in Burkina Faso.

"The investigations have so far led to the arrest and custody of six people who are mostly actors of civil society organizations", wrote Mr. Yoda, the prosecutor of the court of High Authority of Ouagadougou, in a press release.

"People already arrested and in custody as well as those who could be arrested in the coming days are in no way prosecuted for their opinions. They are arrested because consistent evidence leads us to believe that they have committed serious acts" , he pointed out.

On May 2, a first audio had depicted the Mogho Naaba as an opponent of the regime of Captain Ibrahim Traoré , in power since a putsch in September 2022.

The next day, two audios followed announcing an imminent attack on the monarch's palace and this time calling for opposition.

According to the prosecutor, these various audio messages were actually sent by the same people with the aim of provoking "a clash between supporters and opponents of Mogho Naaba with serious consequences" .

The magistrate also indicated on Sunday that the leader of a pro-regime movement, Mohamed Sinon , was arrested for "defamation and endangering the lives of others" . He is accused of having asserted that the national gendarmerie was not investing "one hundred percent" in the fight against the jihadists.

He had recently been given a two-year suspended prison sentence for threatening a famous journalist with death.

Burkina Faso, the scene of two military coups in 2022, has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of jihadist violence that appeared in Mali and Niger a few years earlier and which has spread beyond their borders. Around 50 civilians have been killed this week, in various parts of the country.

For seven years, the violence has left more than 10,000 dead - civilians and soldiers - according to NGOs, and some two million internally displaced persons.

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