Burkina Faso begins inquiry into coup

Friends, families and dignitaries gather during a remembrance for the victims of the military coup on October 9, 2015, in Ouagadougou (AFP Photo/Ahmed Ouaba)
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Ouagadougou (AFP) - Burkina Faso on Monday launched a judicial inquiry to identify all the players involved in last month's failed coup, with 30-day deadline to reach its conclusions.

Prime Minister Isaac Zida said the commission of inquiry -- headed by an appeal court prosecutor -- was charged with "determining responsibility, identifying the perpetrators, accomplices, soldiers and civilians involved in the attempted coup".

The September 17 coup was carried out by members of an elite army unit loyal to former president Blaise Compaore, throwing the impoverished west African country into chaos.

The plotters stormed into the presidential palace in the capital Ouagadougou and took leaders of the interim government hostage, including Zida -- himself a former commander of Compaore's Presidential Security Regiment (RSP).

Fourteen people were killed and 251 were wounded in the ensuing violence which took place just weeks before the country was to hold its first democratic elections since Compaore was ousted in October 2014 following more than a quarter century in power.

Coup leaders were angry that pro-Compaore candidates had been barred from the poll, which was originally set for October 11.

"We have 30 days for this immense task. We hope to complete it within the time alloted despite the magnitude of the job," said Simplice Poda, who heads the eight-member commission of inquiry.

Coup leader General Gilbert Diendere and a former Compaore-era foreign minister Djibril Bassole have already been accused of high treason and endangering the security of the state.

Around 20 others -- mostly officers in the now-disbanded RSP -- have also been arrested.

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