Burkina Faso’s churning political crisis came to a head Monday as the military converged on the capital Ouagadougou, ordering coup soldiers to lay down their arms and rejoin the armed forces without bloodshed. Hours later, Gen. Gilbert Diendere, who seized power in a coup last week, apologized to the West African nation for the power grab and said he would relinquish power to a civilian transitional government.
The week of deadly protests and clashes have stalled Burkina Faso's fragile economy and raised questions about forthcoming general elections less than a year after ousted ruler Blaise Compaore was forced to resign and a transitional government assumed power. Regional mediators have tried in recent days to broker a deal to restore civilian rule and hold elections by Nov. 22, but people on both sides of the political impasse have rejected terms of the proposal.
"This is not a recipe for political stability going forward," said J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.