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Four Coup Plotters Executed in Burkina Faso

September 20, 1989

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) _ Four men were executed after security agents uncovered at the last minute a plot to overthrow President Blaise Compaore, the official Burkina Faso News Agency said Tuesday.

Two of the four were in the top echelon of the government, it reported.

The agency said agents thwarted the plotters’ attempt to arrest Compaore upon his return from a trip to China late Monday.

Reached by telex from Abidjan, the agency quoted government spokesman Clement Ouedraogo as saying the coup leaders planned to seize the airport and if they met resistance, to shoot down Compaore’s plane when it approached.

Ouedraogo spoke at a news conference Tuesday in Ouagadougou, capital of the impoverished Sahelian nation. The agency said Burkina Faso was calm, and that no fighting has taken place.

Ouedraogo said Maj. Jean-Baptiste Boukary Lingani and Capt. Henri Zongo, effectively the No. 2 and No. 3 men in Compaore’s Popular Front military government, were executed along with two other military plotters, not identified.

The agency quoted Ouedraogo as saying Capt. Gilbert Diendere, in charge of presidential security, discovered the scheme just before Compaore returned.

The executions mark the final breakup of a clique of young officers who came to power with Capt. Thomas Sankara in Aug. 4, 1983. Zongo and Lingani, like Compaore close friends of Sankara, supported Compaore in his overthrow and killing of Sankara on Oct. 15, 1987.

First word of the coup attempt came in a communique read on the government- controlled radio. It said, ″Our people and revolution, and its militants at all levels, have just escaped, on the night of Sept. 18, 1989, a cowardly plot fomented by military and fascist elements led by some ambitious and anti- revolutionary people who are at the very top of the political leadership.″

It specifically named Lingani and Zongo and said their objectives ″were to dissolve the Popular Front and all the political organizations and to restore fascist authority.″

Burkina Faso, victim of recurring droughts in the past two decades, has experienced six military coups since independence from France in 1960. It is listed by the World Bank as one of the world’s poorest nations with personal income averaging $190 in 1987.

The West African nation has a population of about 6 million and covers 105,870 square miles. More than 2 million Burkinabe have left their country to seek work in Ivory Coast.

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