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The military is now in charge of the West African country of Burkina Faso


In the West African country of Burkina Faso, the military is now in charge after deposing a democratically elected president. The development comes amidst a string of coups on the continent. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports from his base in South Africa.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: President Roch Kabore came into power in 2015 for Burkina Faso, a country with a turbulent political history since it gained independence from France in 1960. He was different. He was democratically elected and the first president in decades without direct ties to the military. Over the weekend, however, members of the nation's military surrounded his home. And Monday night a group of men in fatigues crowded into a television studio.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Speaking French).

PERALTA: It's a scene that has become very familiar on the African continent lately.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Speaking French).

PERALTA: Because of the deteriorating security situation, the junta spokesman said, they decided to suspend the constitution and oust the president. Ryan Cummings, who studies security risks in Africa for Signal Risk, has been warning that a coup was coming in Burkina Faso. He says the government was in control of big cities, but...

RYAN CUMMINGS: Everywhere else, you know, outside of these major urban centers, that was experiencing, you know, chronic, chronic insecurity.

PERALTA: For the past couple of years, Islamist insurgents had moved deeper into the country, constantly attacking military and civilian targets. And the people of Burkina Faso were tired of the insecurity, and they blamed the president. Cummings says the military saw an opening, and they were inspired by other African armed forces. In the recent past, there have been military coups in Mali, Guinea, Chad and Sudan. And all of those juntas faced very few consequences.

CUMMINGS: Militaries are seeing how coups in one country is being managed and then realized that, you know, the lack of punitive measures or retaliatory measures that are being undertaken by the powers that be provides them the opportunity to do the same.

PERALTA: Coups, says Cummings, have recently proven to provide lots of rewards for very little risk. And there's no reason to think, says Cummings, that this one in Burkina Faso will be any different. Indeed, the U.N., the U.S. and other West African states have condemned the coup, but not one has threatened to use more than words. Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Cape Town, South Africa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.