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UN Security Council demands release of Burkina Faso president, PM

UNITED NATIONS – The UN Security Council strongly condemned the detention of Burkina Faso's interim president and prime minister by the presidential guard Wednesday, September 16, and demanded they be released.

In a unanimous statement, the 15-member council urged "all actors in Burkina Faso to refrain from any violence."

Presidential guard members linked to ex-leader Blaise Compaore burst into a cabinet meeting and seized President Michel Kafando, Prime Minister Isaac Zida and two ministers.

The council "condemned in the strongest terms" the forceful detention and "demanded that they be released safely and immediately."

Council members expressed their strong support for the interim president, the prime minister and the transitional government.

The interim administration has been charged with running the poverty-stricken Sahel nation until presidential and legislative elections are held, the first round of which is to take place on October 11.

Compaore was toppled in October 2014 and fled into exile in Ivory Coast after a popular uprising triggered by his attempt to extend his 27-year rule.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "outraged" by the detention and called for the "immediate release" of the leaders.

Ban and the council described the action as a "flagrant violation" of Burkina Faso's constitution and the charter setting up transitional rule.

UN envoy for west Africa Mohamed Ibn Chambas was in the capital Ouagadougou, holding talks with African governments to press for a return to the transitional arrangement.

The council expressed support for the envoy's efforts. – Rappler.com