The shots heard in the early hours of Tuesday in the centre of Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, were "warning shots" provoked by the presence of an individual within the "security perimeter" of an airbase, a government source told AFP.
"These were warning shots after an individual found himself in the security perimeter of the airbase area," said the source. Heavy gunfire began to be heard around 12:45 a.m. in the heart of the Burkinabè capital, before ceasing about 40 minutes later.
"The security authority will decide on the situation and the motivations for such recklessness," added the government source. "It's an unfortunate incident limited to the air base," a security source told AFP after the shots, without further details, saying that "the situation" was "under control".
Momentarily interrupted, traffic had timidly resumed after the shooting, noted the AFP journalist.
The heavy gunfire came 10 months after a coup, the second in less than a year recorded in this country plagued by jihadist violence and six days after a putsch in neighbouring Niger that overthrew elected President Mohamed Bazoum.
On September 30, 2022, a coup brought to power in Ouagadougou Captain Ibrahim Traoré who overthrew Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, author of a first putsch which himself overthrew on January 24 of the same year President-elect Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.
With each putsch, the inability to fight effectively against the jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State which have struck Burkina with increasing intensity since 2015, had been highlighted.
Jihadist violence has claimed more than 16,000 civilian and military deaths in eight years, according to the latest estimates from the international NGO Armed Conflict Location Action (Acled), including more than 5,000 since the start of 2023. This violence also led to the displacement of some two million people.
The latest July 26 coup in Niger was the third since those of 2020, 2021 and 2022 in Mali and Burkina Faso, in a region of the Sahel plagued by poverty and jihadist violence.
Mali and Burkina have obtained the departure of French troops from their soil and have approached other partners, in particular Russia, which is taking advantage of France's disengagement and stirring up the resentment of a section of the population there. against the former colonial power in this region.