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  • Soldiers guard positions near the Naaba Koom military base in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The country slipped into a state of crisis earlier this month when a rebel military leader declared a coup.

    Soldiers guard positions near the Naaba Koom military base in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The country slipped into a state of crisis earlier this month when a rebel military leader declared a coup. | Photo: Reuters

Burkina Faso's army says rogue troops in Ouagadougou surrendered with barely a fight, but a rebel leader says there were likely “many” civilian casualties.

Burkina Faso's newly-re-installed government announced Tuesday it had retaken control of a key military base from rebel troops.

“The situation is calm. An assault was carried out; there was no confrontation,” said Chief of Staff Gen. Pingrenoma Zagre.

According to government forces, the rebels surrendered shortly after the army began bombarding their base of operations in the country’s capital Ouagadougou. The base was used by the presidential guard, which led an attempted coup against the civilian government earlier this month.

In a statement, the government praised the “liberation” of the base, though rebel leader General Gilbert Diendere has claimed the operation likely resulted in civilian casualties.

“There must have been many deaths and injuries,” he told AFP, alleging families were in the base at the time of the artillery bombardment.

Burkina Faso's government has been in a precarious state since mid-September, when the presidential guard took over the presidential palace and detained the interim President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida. The following day, Diendere, the head of the presidential guard, declared himself the country's new leader.

The move was met with resistance by citizens, which led to violent protests in the street. It was also condemned by the Burkina Faso military and other government loyalists, as well as the international community, including the African Union.

Army loyalists gave Diendere an ultimatum expiring last Monday, telling him to step down or face a military attack.

A deal was signed the following day between the two sides. Diendere agreed to stand down from the positions the rebels had taken in the capital Ouagadougou, while the army also agreed to withdraw its troops and guarantee the safety of the rebel presidential guard members and their families, according to reports by Mail & Guardian Africa.

The attempted military coup comes just weeks before national elections were to take place on Oct. 11. The elections were seen as a means to stabilize the country, since they will be the first to take place since former President Blaise Compaore was toppled last October.

RELATED: Reflecting on the Burkina Faso Uprising

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