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No evidence to support political assassination in Burkina Faso

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Claim: An X user, (@PO_GrassRootM) Peter Obi Grassroots Mobilization claimed that a dozen presidential guards were arrested in Burkina Faso due to an attempted assassination on its president, Captain Ibrahim Traore.

No evidence to support political assassination in Burkina Faso

Full Text

Over the years, the West African region has witnessed a surge in coups to topple elected governments. While some have been successive, others have failed. Most coups on the continent are caused by corruption, insecurity, and suffering of the masses. The new military leaders often find it hard to rein in the effect of their ascension to power.

Burkina Faso has been prone to coup d’etat. Its current leader, Captain Ibrahim Traore, ascended to power through a coup, while his predecessor also took the same route.

Since the coup that brought Traore to power on Sep 30, 2022, his government has announced a series of unsuccessful coup attempts, the latest being in January 2024, according to media reports.

However, an X user, @PO_GrassRootM, claimed there was another assassination attempt in May, which led to the arrest of dozens of presidential guards.

The tweet reads, “JUST IN: More than a dozen presidential guards have been arrested in connection with an assassination attempt on the President of Burkina Faso, Captain Ibrahim Traore.” It was posted on  May 20, 2024, and has garnered 128,700 Views with 177 comments, 632 retweets, and 2,200 likes.

The tweet did not state when the incident occurred, but a Google search brought up a tweet by @Dachronica (Les Misérables), which stated that the incident happened on the evening of May 19, 2024. The account also claimed that the incident was the ninth assassination attempt on the president, which he has survived.

The X post further linked Traore to the reincarnation of Burkina Faso’s Revolutionary leader, Thomas Sankara; thus, the coloniser of the country (France) “is agonising over finding another  Blaise Compaore to remind us that history revolves around crimes.” it said.

With the rise in coordinated misinformation portraying Captain Traore as the new African revolutionary, Thomas Sankara,  DUBAWA, decided to investigate this claim.

Verification

We conducted a Google word search using the statement “presidential guard arrested for an attempted coup in Burkina Faso.” The results were mostly from media reports of a failed coup in September 2023, in which the government said four people were arrested after it thwarted a coup attempt.

One of the reports by Al Jazeera quoted a spokesperson for the ruling military, Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo, saying some officers were caught in an attempt to destabilise the country, while some were sought as they “planned to seize power and plunged the country into chaos.”

A further check on the government’s website, Information Service of the Government of Burkina Faso, where information on previous coup attempts was posted, did not contain any press release or document that mentioned the arrest of presidential guards on May 19, 2024.

Similarly, Radio Télévision du Burkina, the country’s national broadcaster, does not mention such an incident.

Conclusion

The claim that a dozen presidential guards were arrested in Burkina Faso for planning to assassinate Burkina Faso’s president is false.

This report is produced for the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame Karikari Fact-Checking Fellowship in partnership with Daily Trust Newspaper to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in Nigeria.

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