Burkina Faso’s military prosecutor’s office has denounced an attempt to “destabilise state institutions”, involving a senior officer already imprisoned for similar offences, recently released and then arrested again.
The military prosecutor’s office said in a statement issued Wednesday evening that “the first elements” of an investigation opened after the denunciation, “reveal that the military in collusion with civilians were preparing a destabilization of state institutions.
A chief warrant officer, Charles Neboa, and a sergeant, Adama Traoré, are cited as being part of the group, according to the whistleblower quoted by the military prosecutor.
This group “would be in contact with the ‘Green Mamba’ unit of Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana and planned to launch simultaneous attacks on the Burkina radio and television station (RTB), the military prison and correctional facility (Maca) where this senior officer was detained for similar acts, and the residence of the head of state, Captain Ibrahim Traoré,” according to the military prosecutor.
Lieutenant-Colonel Zoungrana was first arrested on 14 January and imprisoned for “attempting to destabilise state institutions”, “embezzlement of public property, forgery, and use of forgeries, illicit enrichment, and money laundering”.
At the time, Burkina Faso was led by Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, a president elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2020.
He was overthrown by a first putsch on 24 January that brought to power a military junta led by Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba, who was in turn overthrown by Captain Ibrahim Traoré on 30 September.
Emmanuel Zoungrana had been provisionally released on 15 December, before being arrested again on 27 December at his home in Pabré, about 20 km north of Ouagadougou, “not without resistance”, according to the military prosecutor.
In a video widely posted on Facebook, he claimed to have been the victim of two poisoning attempts during his imprisonment and monitored by drones since his provisional release.
The former head of the 12th infantry commando regiment, based in Ouahigouya, capital of the northern region, Lieutenant-Colonel Zoungrana, 41, passed the baton on 21 December 2021, before returning to Ouagadougou where he was awaiting a new assignment.
A former commander of the western sector forces, engaged in the fight against terrorism in this country regularly plunged into mourning by jihadist attacks, he had been decorated for his feats of arms, in particular for having retaken besieged localities.