By John Ikani
Gunfire rang out from several military camps in Burkina Faso early on Sunday, the Government said, but it denied that the military had seized power.
“Information on social media would have people believe there was an army takeover,” Government spokesman Alkassoum Maiga said in a statement.
“The government, while recognising the validity of shootings in some barracks, denies this information and calls on the population to remain calm.”
Also denying rumours of Coup D’etat, Defence Minister General Bathelemy Simpore took to national TV to debunk claims that President Roch Marc Kabore had been detained.
He added the motive behind the gunfire was still unclear.
The gunfire came after a day after clashes between police and demonstrators during banned protests against the authorities’ failure to stem the jihadist violence ravaging the West African country.
It also follows the arrest earlier this month of numerous soldiers over a suspected plot to “destabilise institutions” in the West African country, which has a long history of coups.
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.
Burkinabe authorities arrested a dozen soldiers earlier this month on suspicion of conspiring against the government.
Rising violence in the West African country by Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State killed over 2,000 people last year, prompting violent street protests in November calling for Kabore to step down.
Additional demonstrations were planned for Saturday, but the Government banned them and the police intervened to disperse the hundreds of people who tried to assemble in Ouagadougou.
The Government has suspended mobile internet service on several occasions, and the tense situation in November led the UN Special Envoy to West Africa to warn against any military takeover.