Jailed lawyer abducted in Burkina hours after his prison release

Celebrated Burkina Faso lawyer Guy Herve Kam was kidnapped hours after his release from prison.

A celebrated lawyer and leader of Burkina Faso’s civil society was kidnapped just hours after being freed from prison, his movement said on Thursday.

Several kidnappings of people considered hostile to the West African nation’s military government led by Captain Ibrahim Traore have taken place in the capital Ouagadougou over recent months.

“National security agents had left Guy Herve Kam on open land not far from his home and immediately another group of armed men took him to an unknown destination” on Wednesday night, said Mouvement Sens, for which Kam is national coordinator.

“We do not know the reasons why our coordinator was not returned directly to his family at his own house, and even less why he was re-taken by force by a second group waiting in ambush,” Sens said in a statement.

Burkina’s Bar Association released a statement saying that after his apparent abduction, Kam on Thursday appeared before a military judge who ordered him held.

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“Guy Herve Kam was driven to the Army detention and correctional centre (MACA), where he has been incarcerated since Thursday”, the association said in a statement.

Also on Wednesday, a decorated army officer was abducted a day after he was released following charges of attempting to destabilise the West African nation, his relatives told AFP.

Lieutenant-colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana, 42, was provisionally allowed to return home on Tuesday by a military tribunal.

Sens blamed Kam’s abduction on the country’s highest authorities.

“The authorities’ fury” against Kam “fully shows that we live in a state where arbitrariness and the power of guns are what we have now for law and legitimacy”, Sens said.

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The movement called for Kam, who had been detained in January, to be set free immediately.

A tribunal had ordered his release back in March, a decision confirmed on appeal on April 23.

The lawyer, a former magistrate, is well known in Burkina, where he defended the family of Captain Thomas Sankara, who served as president from his coup in 1983 to 1987, when he was killed in another coup.

Burkina has seen two coups since September 2022, and Traore’s regime this month extended military rule for another five years.

Jihadist rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group have waged a grinding insurgency in Burkina since 2015 that has killed thousands and displaced millions.

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– By: © Agence France-Presse

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