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Friday, April 22, 2011

Burkinabe President Declares Himself Defense Minister

Burkina Faso's president has named himself defence minister in a new government announced late Thursday, decrees read on public television said, as he seeks to end a soldiers' mutiny.
 
President Blaise Compaore takes over the sensitive defence post after two months of unprecedented mass demonstrations, including a revolt by soldiers over pay and benefits and student riots against police that left several dead. Last week Compaore, an ex-soldier who came to power in a 1987 military coup, ordered the payment of bonuses to soldiers, dissolved the government and replaced his army chief in a bid to reassert his authority and quell dissent.
 
Fifteen new ministers -- all members of the ruling party or followers of the president -- entered the government of 29 members, down from 38 previously. Since the end of February all sectors of the population have joined in more or less violent protests against the president’s regime and the cost of living. At least six people have died in the protests.

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