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Burkina Faso’s junta says its intelligence and security services have foiled a coup attempt

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Burkina Faso’s military government said Wednesday its intelligence and security services had thwarted a coup attempt and were actively pursuing others believed involved in what it called a bid to “throw our country into chaos.”

A junta statement said the coup attempt happened Tuesday without providing further details.

“Officers and other alleged actors involved in this attempt at destabilization have been arrested and others are actively sought,” junta spokesman Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo said in the statement.

Burkina Faso is one of a growing list of West African countries where the military has taken power, accusing the elected governments of failing to keep their promises. The current junta seized power in September 2022 by ousting the military regime of Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba about eight months after it staged a coup to remove democratically elected President Roch Marc Kaboré.

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FILE - French Barkhane Air Force mechanics maintain a Mirage 2000 on the Niamey, Niger base, on June 5, 2021. On Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, night, the junta said on state television it was terminating the military agreements and protocols signed with it's former colonial ruler, France. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)West Africa defense chiefs finalize Niger intervention plan as junta negotiations deadlockWith the headquarters of the ruling party burning in the back, supporters of mutinous soldiers demonstrate in Niamey, Niger, Thursday, July 27 2023. Not everyone is hostile to last week's coup in Niger. Neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali have taken the unusual step of declaring that foreign military intervention in Niger would be a declaration of war against them, too. Both have had coups in recent years. (AP Photo/Fatahoulaye Hassane Midou)Some of Niger’s neighbors defend the coup there, even hinting at war. It’s a warning for AfricaBoubacar Moussa, a former member of the Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin group, linked to al-Qaida, poses for a photo in Niamey, Niger, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. The 47-year-old says Niger's coup will embolden violence, increase recruitment across the country and threaten regional stability. (AP Photo/Sam Mednick)The coup in Niger will only embolden extremists, says a former jihadi fighter

Capt. Ibrahim Traore was named as the transitional president. However, since its inception, the junta has struggled to end Burkina Faso’s security challenges — the very reason that it said prompted it to take over power in September 2022.

Ouedraogo said an investigation into the attempted takeover was underway and that those behind it had sought to cast Burkina Faso “into chaos.”

The announcement came a day after protesters marched in Ouagadougou, the nation’s capital, expressing support for the transitional government.

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The junta’s statement praised citizens “for their resolute and historic commitment to defending the Homeland and protecting it against all those who want to take us backwards into history.” It also commended “the patriotic action and the high sense of duty” of the defense and security forces that thwarted the coup.

The transitional government is running Burkina Faso under a constitution approved by a national assembly that included army officers, civil society groups and traditional and religious leaders. The junta has set a goal of conducting elections to return the country to democratic rule by July 2024.

Burkina Faso has been ravaged by growing attacks by Muslim extremists linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. The violence has killed thousands, displaced more than 2 million people and pushed tens of thousands to the brink of starvation.

Since the country’s first coup in January 2022, the number of people killed by Islamic extremists has nearly tripled compared with the 18 months before, according to a recent report by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.