By John Ikani
Authorities in Burkina Faso have announced the arrest of eight soldiers who are accused of plotting a coup.
One of the alleged plotters tipped off the authorities on Saturday to an alleged “plan to destabilise the institutions of the republic”, military prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
An investigation is underway and the soldiers have been questioned, it said.
Governments in west and central Africa are on high alert for coups after successful putsches over the past 18 months in Mali and Guinea.
The military also took over in Chad last year after President Idriss Deby died on the battlefield.
Neighbouring governments have imposed heavy sanctions on the military rulers in Guinea and Mali in an effort to head off any contagion effect in a region once known as Africa’s “coup belt”.
The last coup in Burkina Faso took place seven years ago when a controversial military unit loyal to the ousted and exiled President, Blaise Compaoré, seized power.
Burkina Faso appears to be especially vulnerable.
Rising violence by Islamist militants killed hundreds of soldiers and civilians last year, prompting violent street protests in November calling for President Roch Kabore to step down.
Kaboré, made significant changes to the government last month at the time while under pressure to counter frequent attacks by Islamist militants.