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Fresh looting in Burkina's second-largest city
by Staff Writers
Ouagadougou (AFP) June 2, 2011

Authorities imposed a curfew in Burkina Faso's second-largest city on Thursday after angry troops went on another rampage, firing shots into the air and looting businesses, residents said.

In a repeat of events Tuesday night in Bobo Dioulasso, soldiers left the country's second-largest base after midnight heading for the centre of town, said witnesses.

Through the night, troops looted shops, angering tradesmen who took to the streets in retaliation, before being dispersed by paramilitary police, sources said.

Soldiers left their camp again midday on Thursday, firing shots in the air while some rode on motorcycles through several neighbourhoods, a resident told AFP.

The local public radio and television station closed its broadcast centre after a group of soldiers arrived hoping to broadcast a message.

A resident told AFP that by Thursday evening the town was deserted with all shops closed.

The curfew will run from 6:00 pm (1800 GMT) to 6:00 am (0600 GMT) "until further notice" the regional governor said in a statement.

Some 15 people have been injured by stray bullets since Wednesday evening, a medical source said.

Tradesmen have targetted government buildings, in retaliation for the damage to their businesses, the city's mayor, Salia Sanou said.

"Business owners attacked city hall, the customs office and other state buildings," he explained.

"They have had enough, I understand them," he said. "We promised to compensate them yesterday (for earlier looting). They kept their calm and now they get looted again."

Mutinies over salaries have now spread to all the military bases of this poor, landlocked west African nation of 16 million people.

President Blaise Compaore, in power since 1987, has since February been confronted with an unprecedented wave of unrest, marked by social protests as well as military mutinies.

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