OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Ivory Coast extradited three soldiers to Burkina Faso who were wanted in connection with a coup attempt there last September, judicial and diplomatic sources said on Sunday.
Chief Adjutant Moussa Nebie, nicknamed “Rambo” and two other ex-members of Burkino Faso’s former presidential guard, the RSP, were arrested on Friday and sent back to Burkina Faso on Saturday, the sources in the Burkinabe capital said. There was no immediate comment from Ivory Coast.
The guard took the country’s transitional president and prime minister hostage during the coup attempt, which failed one week later in the face of popular and diplomatic pressure and opposition from parts of the security forces.
Since then, its leader, General Gilbert Diendere has been arrested, the presidential guard has been disbanded and some of its members, including Nebie, who was close to Diendere, have fled abroad.
Burkina Faso elected President Roch Marc Kabore in November, the country’s first new leader in nearly three decades. His election was the culmination of a democratic transition that began after veteran leader Blaise Compaore was forced out in October 2014.
The presidential guard as well as Diendere were close to Compaore, and divisions over the former president linger. In January, soldiers linked to the presidential guard raided an armory on the outskirts of the capital, Ouagadougou, and stole rocket launchers and assault rifles.
Kabore said on state television on Saturday that any soldiers who were arrested would not be executed. The government’s goal is to end a cycle in which the country is constantly threatened by the prospect of army coups, he said.
Authorities in Burkina Faso are also dealing with the aftermath of an attack by Islamist militants on a restaurant and hotel in the capital in January, in which 30 people were killed. Most were foreigners.
Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Larry King