Serious unrest took place between February and July, and the President dissolved the government. Some 300 soldiers were charged and detained following the riots.
From February to July, Burkina Faso faced one of the most serious waves of unrest since President Blaise Compaoré took power in 1987. Soldiers took to the streets on several occasions in protest against prison sentences imposed on five military officers for attacking a civilian over unpaid allowances. The President reacted by dissolving the government and firing the Chief of Staff. In September some 300 soldiers were charged and detained, many of whom were tried for rebellion, rape, robbery and looting.
Thousands of people demonstrated in the capital Ouagadougou and in other cities in March and April against food prices and the rising cost of living. They called for the resignation of President Compaoré and an end to impunity.Top of page
Anti-government protests throughout the country were triggered in February when Justin Zongo, a student, died after being beaten by police officers in Koudougou, 100 km west of Ouagadougou. Official statements that the death was due to meningitis were contradicted by later reports that it was a result of physical abuse.
During subsequent clashes between protesters and the authorities, hundreds of people were wounded and five people were killed, including a police officer, after security forces used live ammunition against the demonstrators. In August, three police officers were convicted of manslaughter in the case of Justin Zongo and received sentences ranging from eight to 10 years’ imprisonment.Top of page
Although maternal health had been identified as a priority for the government, by the end of the year no real improvement had been achieved either in the quality of maternal health services or increased access to family planning and contraception. Some progress was reported regarding accountability of medical personnel.