December 28, 2016 / 10:11 PM / 7 months ago

Burkina Faso replaces army chief after series of attacks

2 Min Read

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore replaced army chief of staff Pingrenoma Zagre on Wednesday, the government said in a statement, after a string of deadly militant attacks, including against the security forces.

The statement did not provide a reason for Zagre's replacement by Sadou Oumarou, formerly the inspector general of the armed forces, but military sources said the decision was prompted by the incidents.

Attacks in Burkina Faso were relatively rare before an attack by al Qaeda-linked fighters on a hotel in the capital, Ouagadougou, that killed 29 people in January.

Since then, the country has been hit by several attacks near its northern border with Mali, including one this month in which unidentified gunmen killed a dozen members of the army's special anti-terrorist group.

Islamist militants are active in Mali, and Burkinabe authorities are concerned the long desert border between the two countries could become a transit point.

Burkina Faso's army is also dealing with the fallout from a failed coup attempt by elite presidential guard soldiers in September of last year.

The government said in October that it had foiled a new coup attempt by ex-members of the same unit, a pillar of former president Blaise Campaore's rule before he was ousted by demonstrators in 2014 over his attempts to change the constitution to prolong his 27 years in office.

Reporting by Mathieu Bonkoungou; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Alison Williams

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