The Army Takes a Hand

So, for you who have been following my adventures,  you know that the Burkina Faso Army high command has ordered the rebellious regiment to lay down its arms and units loyal to the transitional government have surrounded the city. I have been brought to Brenda Soya’s house and they are talking about evacuating us. No flights right now or I’m sure I would have been on one last night. Mobile data only seems to work occasionally so I’m posting from my phone at 4 am. More later insh’allah.

Well, now it’s working on the computer, so here is the blow-by-blow I wrote yesterday: (Facebook users have already seen this)

(about 3:00) RFI is reporting that the Army High Command has ordered General Diendéré and the RSP to lay down their arms and report to another barracks in town here, with their families, where they will be “under surveillance and protected”. An armored unit and a parachute regiment equipped by the US for anti-terrorist work are on the march from the northern part of the country to enforce the demand. Air Force helicopters are flying over the city, at least one that I’ve heard. No shooting so far. The military command has announced that they want to resolve the situation without bloodshed.

The commander of the army announced Saturday that the military had to respect “republican values” and that the people should trust the army to see to the defense of the republic. I guess this is what he meant.

RFI is reporting that the parachute regiment is passing through Koudougou, about 130 km from here, to the applause of a large crowd.

People are running for home. Bousso is here right now, cleaning house. She brought food, for which I was very grateful since there was nothing at all in the house except for a bit of elderly bread and a couple of eggs. I like French toast but there is a limit. Djibi went out looking for food and some other stuff for me, and he has called a couple of times. He is coming now to carry Bousso back to her house on his moto. Or else they can stay here if we hear any explosions.

(4:00 news) President Kafondo is on the radio now, distancing himself from the proposed compromise solution. I guess it was an earlier interview so he had nothing to say about the military intervention but it tails in well.

Now the Embassy just called and they’re coming to get me. All this food is going to go uneaten, I’m afraid. A pity, it was good.

(got here about 6:00) Now, I’m at Brenda Soya’s house again. I just got a message from CIES saying they are looking for ways to evacuate me, so it looks like the adventure is at least temporarily suspended. Unless they figure out a way to resolve their politics here quickly.

The latest news is that General Diendéré has now agreed to the mediators’ plan, while the military and the provisional president continue to reject it. Several presidents of neighboring governments have called for the RSP to return to their barracks. And the troops coming from the neighboring cities are around the city now, but not entering yet. There was a little firing just a minute ago from the direction of the presidential palace, now only about a kilometer away.

(4:00 a.m.) The trip here was in three big armored vehicles from the embassy. I rode with the wife of the DCM and a young man I guess was probably from the military mission, driven once again by the faithful Dieudonné. They drove fast and didn’t concern themselves much with the bumps. The boss of the caravan was Mark, who I met a couple of weeks ago at church. He was in a big hurry. I managed to leave some stuff at the house, including my laundry at the blachisseur’s next door so I sure hope I can go back there.

Anyway, I’m safe if not exactly happy. I’m concerned about this talk of evacuating me. I continue to be optimistic about the politics and look forward to a year teaching in the university.

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