Burkina airport shut as troops surround coup plotters' barracks: airport source

Burkinabe soldiers patrol near to the Presidental Security Regiment (RSP) military barracks on September 29, 2015 in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso's government on September 28 accused an elite presidential guard, led by coup leader Gilbert Diendere, behind this month's week-long coup of refusing to disarm, of seizing loyalist troops, and of planning yet more trouble.
PHOTO: AFP

OUAGADOUGOU - Ougadougou airport was shut down Tuesday, an airport official told AFP, as Burkina troops locked down the area around the barracks of an elite unit behind a short-lived coup after they failed to disarm.

All flights were cancelled and the airport near the city centre would remain shut until further notice, the source told AFP.

The news came several hours after the army staged a lockdown in the Ouaga 2000 neighbourhood around the barracks of the presidential guard (RSP) responsible for the September 17 putsch.

Although the unit abandoned its coup last week and was formally dissolved by the cabinet on Friday, the guards have failed to lay down their weapons and remained inside their barracks, prompting a new standoff with the government.

In a sign of escalating tensions, troops on Tuesday morning deployed all around the barracks with armoured cars and pickup trucks, while troops equipped with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades were stationed at several intersections, an AFP correspondent said.

All traffic was banned from the area and Chief of Staff General Pingrenoma Zagre urged residents to steer clear of the neighbourhood "for security reasons".

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