Burkina Faso, Army turns on the RSP

A week after the Regiment of Presidential Security ( RSP ) removed the provisional government, the military has stepped in. The army of Burkina Faso does not support the 1.500 members of the RSP, who staged a coup last week. With their refusal to back the elite force, the militarist coup seems to come to an end. Coup leader Gilbert Diendere went on state-television to apologize for his actions. At this moment the RSP is talking with the regular armed forces, some elite soldiers have surrendered while others not. The situation is not solved yet and could escalate!

The Regiment of Presidential Security is a elite force of 1.500 soldiers. They belonged to the highest paid members of the armed forces and were the elite guard that protected former dictator Blaise Compaoré. The RSP was created in the 1990’s to protect him and his corrupt bureaucracy, from a potential coup inside the regular armed forces. After dictator Compaoré fled in 2014, the regiment was under threat. Because the provisional government wanted to disband the unit, meaning that the 1.500 elite soldiers would lose their power structure and high salaries!

There was another reason why the RSP staged the coup. Because the provisional government wanted to ban the party of Blaise Compaoré, from participating in the elections. The ”Congress for Democracy and Progress” ( CDP ) was the party that ruled over Burkina Faso from 1996 until 2014. Like most African ruling parties its lacks an ideology and is used as a propaganda tool of the ruling dictator. Compaoré founded the CDP by merging many political parties and groups, who were loyal to him. The party won most elections because Compaoré, used massive election fraud to win all presidential and parliamentary elections since the 1990’s!

Because the CDP won all elections thanks to massive fraud, the provisional government banned the party from participating in the next elections. When the government also wanted to disband the Regiment of Presidential Security, the 1.500 elite soldiers decided to stage a coup. Their goal was to prevent the provisional government from removing their power structure. Had the RSP succeeded they would have manipulated the elections, ensuring victory for the party of their president in exile. It would have been a terrible defeat for the millions of workers and poor people, who suffered under the corrupt-capitalist regime of the former dictator!

But the regular armed forces of Burkina Faso choose to intervene. Army leaders mobilized soldiers from around the nation to march on the capital. The RSP realized that they were outnumbered. Although the army is small, they still have over 10.000 armed troops and around 100 armed vehicles. Compaoré gave his Regiment of Presidential Security the best guns and the highest salaries. Yet they knew that if they would fight, it would end in a bloodbath with a lot of innocent people dying. So RSP leader Gilbert Diendere decided to play for time. He went on state-television to apologize to the people of Burkina Faso!

Diendere is a close ally of former dictator Compaoré. It is said that he was part of the group that murdered president; Thomas Sankara in 1987. Diendere became part of the Regiment of Presidential Security and was made its leader. After his long-time friend was removed from power, the RSP leader lost his own position. But after so many years, Gilbert Diendere still had a lot of influence and powerful friends inside the corrupt state-bureaucracy. After the militarist coup a week ago, he was installed as junta leader by the RSP. Faced with the regular military rejecting his regime, Gilbert Diendere decided to start talking with the army. At the present moment on 23 September 2015, some members of the RSP have surrendered, but their leadership remains defiant. A civil war between the remaining elite soldiers and the regular armed forces is still a possibility!

Should there be a final agreement between the RSP and the army,  we recommend the following actions to be taken!

  • The Regiment of Presidential Security is to be disbanded, all soldiers who participated in the coup are to be arrested, no amnesty is to be given!
  • Gilbert Diendere must be investigated for his actions while serving Blaise Compaoré, especially his part in the murder of Thomas Sankara in 1987!
  • A mass workers party must be build in order for the working class to have a voice in the upcoming election!
  • The media must be taken out of the hands of the corrupt state bureaucracy and into the hands of the people!
  • An open investigation must start against the ”Congress for Democracy and Progress” and its leaders from 1996 until 2014!
  • For a socialist Burkina Faso as part of a socialist federation of Africa
Citizens of Burkina Faso demonstrate in Washington DC against the RSP junta!

Citizens of Burkina Faso demonstrate in Washington DC against the RSP junta!

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