The Nigerian-based International Press Centre has condemned coup in Burkina Faso by presidential guards led by Gilbert Diendere, a general and former senior aide to ousted dictator, Blaise Campaore.
In a statement on Thursday by its director, Lanre Arogundade, IPC said it was particularly concerned about the fate of international and local journalists as well as freedom of expression for activists currently gathered in the country for the annual International Festival of the Freedom of Expression and the Press, FILEP, between September 16 and 19.
Ironically, the theme of this year’s celebration by The Norbert ZONGO National Press Center (CNP-NZ) is “Media and political changes in Africa: what contribution?”
“IPC warns the Coupists against harming the journalists and activists in any way as they would be held responsible should they become targets of attacks by rampaging soldiers,” the statement said.
“Among the international media professionals currently confined to their hotels in the country’s capital, Ouagadougou are IPC’s Program Associate, Mr. Sanmi Falobi, the secretary of the Abuja Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr, Emma Ogbechie and the President of the West African Journalists Association (WAJA), Mr. Peter Quaqua.”
The centre called on the Nigerian Government, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Commission and the African Union to take urgent measures to protect foreign and local civilians, including the journalists and activists.
It also asked the international and local media bodies, freedom of expression and human rights groups to demand the safety of the journalists and activists.
“Any form of military intervention is undemocratic, anti-people and unacceptable,” IPC said, adding that, “the sooner the coupists realize this and let the people of Burkina Faso freely and democratically elect their leaders, the better.”
In the wake of the coup, protesters took to the streets to protest the military takeover amid reports 10 people had been shot dead by the presidential guards.
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