Monday 29 May 2017

15 Burkina troops jailed over arms depot raid

15 Burkina troops jailed over arms depot raid
(AFP 04/07/17)

A military tribunal on Thursday jailed 15 Burkinabe soldiers for up to 17 years each over a failed raid on an arms depot last year.

The soldiers on trial included 10 members of the former elite presidential guard (RSP) of ousted leader Blaise Compaore.

They were found guilty of taking the arms which were allegedly to be used to attack Ouagadougou military prison in order to release former RSP head General Gilbert Diendere and other soldiers jailed for their alleged involvement in a failed coup in September 2015.

The coup bid was thwarted by street protesters and support from the army, which attacked the plotters' barracks.

Two of the accused, including the suspected ringleader Sergeant-Major Ali Sanou, received the 17-year-term for "military conspiracy".

Thirteen other soldiers were handed 10-year jail terms.

The military prosecutor has sought prison terms of up to 20 years for the accused.

The convicted troops have complained of being tortured to extract confessions.

"The verdict surprised us" said Fako Bruno Ouattara, lawyer for Sanou, adding that the troops had taken the arms "to save people's lives". He said there would be an appeal.

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