Burkinabé Rising
Photo credit: Benjamin Lebrave, Akwaaba Music


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From independence from French colonialism in 1960 to a series of coups d’état in the 1980s to a popular insurrection in 2014, Burkina Faso has followed a tumultuous path to democracy. Below is a timeline of events prepared by BBC News. (To view the full timeline, click here.)




Kingdoms now making up Burkina Faso become a French protectorate.


Upper Volta becomes separate constituent territory of French West Africa.


Upper Volta becomes autonomous republic within the French Community.


Upper Volta becomes independent with Maurice Yameogo as president.


Yameogo toppled in a military coup led by Sangoule Lamizana following unrest over a government austerity programme.


New constitution approved in a national referendum allows Lamizana to remain in power until 1975, when he was due to be replaced by an elected president; Gerard Ouedraogo appointed prime minister.


President Lamizana re-asserts authority by ousting Prime Minister Ouedraogo and dissolving parliament.


New multi-party constitution promulgated, allowing President Lamizana to remain in office. He wins 1978 presidential election.


President Lamizana is ousted in coup led by Saye Zerbo.


Saye Zerbo is overthrown in a coup led by Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo following industrial unrest.


Capt Thomas Sankara takes power from Mr Ouedraogo in an internal power struggle. He adopts radical left-wing policies.


Upper Volta renamed Burkina Faso.


Thomas Sankara ousted and killed in a coup led by his close aide, Blaise Compaoré.


Compaoré introduces limited democratic reforms.


Compaoré re-elected without opposition under a new constitution.


Compaoré’s Organisation for Popular Democracy-Labour Movement wins a majority of seats in the first multi-party parliamentary elections since 1978.


Compaoré wins presidential election by a landslide.


June – General strike over economic grievances and alleged human rights violations.


August – State-owned mining company Soremib announces the closure of the country’s biggest gold mine.


December – Government agrees to set up UN-run body to monitor weapons imports after allegations that it has been involved in smuggling arms to rebels in Sierra Leone and Angola.


April – Military tribunal tries 13 people accused of plotting coup against President Compaoré in October 2003. Army captain Luther Ouali jailed for 10 years for masterminding plot.


November – President Compaoré wins a third straight term in office.


December – Burkina Faso postpones a regional economic summit after deadly gun battles between police and soldiers in the capital.


May – The ruling party wins a majority in parliamentary polls.


April – Two-day general strike follows weeks of protests about high living costs and call for wage increases.


April – Parliament passes a law requiring at least 30% of candidates put forward for election by political parties to be women.


July – France, US issue travel warnings, citing the possibility of kidnappings by al-Qaeda operatives.


November – Gold mine officially opened. Premier Tertius Zongo says it will earn substantial revenue for the country.


November – Presidential elections. President Compaoré gains another term in office.


March – Weeks of violent protests follow the death of a student in police custody.


April – Soldiers, presidential guards mutiny over unpaid allowances. Thousands of people protest over food prices.


July – Seven people are killed when government forces suppress mutiny in Burkina Faso’s second city, Bobo Dioulasso.


January – President Compaoré sacks head of Burkina Faso’s customs service, Ousmane Guiro, following the seizure of nearly $4m in two large suitcases traced by police to Mr Guiro.


November – President Compaoré mediates talks to resolve the crisis in Mali, where Islamists have taken control of the north.


April – International Court of Justice in The Hague settles a decades-old border dispute between Niger and Burkina Faso.


July – Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets over plans to create a Senate. Opposition leaders say the move will allow President Compaoré to extend his rule.


January – Demonstrators across the country oppose possible plans by President Compaoré to prolong his rule.


January – Defectors from the ruling party found a new political movement to challenge the president.


October – More mass protests against proposed constitutional changes to allow the president another five years in power turn into a mass uprising that drives President Compaoré from office.


October – Military takes charge in move condemned by opposition, civil society groups, United States and African Union.


November – Agreement reached on a framework for a transitional government to run the country until elections proposed for the end of next year. Political and military leaders choose former Foreign Minister Michel Kafando as interim president.


April – Romanian security officer at a mine in the north is kidnapped. Islamist militants later claim to be holding him.


April – Interim parliament bars politicians allied to deposed president Blaise Compaoré from running in the presidential and general elections planned for later in the year.


May – Work starts on exhuming what is believed to be the body of former leader Thomas Sankara ahead of DNA tests to determine the identity and cause of his death.


September – Acting President Kafando faces down coup attempt by presidential guard allies of Blaise Compaoré.


November – Former prime minister Roch Marc Christian Kabore wins presidential election, comfortably beating former Economy and Finance Minister Zephirin Diabre.


January – Islamist militants attack a hotel and cafe in the capital, Ouagadougou, killing 29 people, many of them foreigners.

Source: BBC News





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