Nigeria's Buhari condemns Burkina Faso coup

President Muhammadu Buhari, who has made crushing Boko Haram a priority, in December said a sustained counter-offensive had reduced the group's ability to strike effectively (AFP Photo/Bertrand Guay)

Abuja (AFP) - Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, who seized power in a military takeover more than 30 years ago before winning democratic elections this year, on Friday condemned the coup in Burkina Faso.

The former military ruler and his government in Abuja said they "unreservedly condemn" the takeover, which saw Burkina Faso's interim president and prime minister detained with members of the administration.

The takeover by elements of the Burkinabe Presidential Guard was a "brazen contravention of the constitution and transitional charter", according to a statement from Buhari's office.

Abuja welcomed the release of interim president Michel Kafando.

Elections had been due to take place next month, more than a year after former president Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising.

Nigeria said it supported efforts by regional bloc ECOWAS and the African Union to resolve the crisis and promised its "fullest possible support" to mediators presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin.

Buhari, 72, is a former army general who came to power in a military coup in December 1983, overthrowing a civilian government widely seen as riddled with corruption.

He stayed in power for 20 months before being ousted himself in a bloodless barracks coup.

He defeated sitting president Goodluck Jonathan in elections in March, scoring the first win by an opposition politician since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.

He has acknowledged his past as a coup leader but rejected descriptions of himself as a dictator and vowed to operate "under democratic rules", calling himself a "converted democrat".

He has also said he would no longer be referred to as "General Buhari".