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U.N. chief ‘outraged’ by Burkina Faso detentions, calls for release

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed outrage on Wednesday at reports of the detention of Burkina Faso’s president and prime minister and several ministers, calling for their immediate release.

The presidential guard burst into a cabinet meeting earlier on Wednesday and arrested the interim president. The move comes less than a month before an election to complete a transition back to democracy after a popular uprising toppled Burkina’s long-time ruler last year.

“The Secretary-General is outraged by reports of the detention of President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida of Burkina Faso,” Ban’s press office said in a statement. “The Secretary-General calls for their immediate release. This incident is a flagrant violation of Burkina Faso’s Constitution and Transitional Charter.”

The U.N. Security Council also “condemned in the strongest terms” the detentions and demanded the immediate release of all the government officials being held.

“The members of the Security Council urged all actors in Burkina Faso to refrain from any violence,” the 15-nation council added in the statement, which diplomats said was drafted by France.

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