September 26, 2015 / 10:55 AM / 2 years ago

Burkina Faso prosecutor freezes assets of leader of failed coup

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Burkina Faso on Saturday froze the assets of the leader of a failed coup and began to disarm the presidential guard that took the president and prime minister hostage just weeks before elections intended to mark a return to democracy.

Burkina Faso's coup leader General Gilbert Diendere arrives at the airport to greet foreign heads of state in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Penney

The state prosecutor said in a statement he froze the financial and property assets of coup leader General Gilbert Diendere and 13 others suspected of links to the putsch.

He did the same to the political party of former President Blaise Compaore and three other parties linked to the former ruler.

The decision is part of a crackdown against the coup leaders and their perceived supporters one day after the cabinet dissolved the presidential guard.

Interim President Michel Kafando on Friday also dismissed the minister in charge of security and created a commission to identify those responsible for the coup attempt.

Kafando took back power on Wednesday after the coup leaders bowed to domestic and international opposition and the threat of attack from loyalist forces. In all, 11 people died in protests against the putsch.

The West African country was planning to hold elections on Oct. 11, marking a return to democracy a year after protesters toppled Compaore as he attempted to extend his 27-year rule, but they seem likely to be delayed because of the unrest.

Journalists were taken to army base Guillaume Ouedraogo to see five trucks loaded with arms and ammunition including hand grenades, rocket propelled grenades and multiple rocket launchers.

“We think we will finish (disarming the presidential guard) in a week, but it’s not certain because what we have seen there represents just one tenth of their inventory,” said an officer.

Reporting by Mathieu Bonkoungou; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Sandra Maler

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