There've been celebrations in the West African state of Upper Volta to mark the 16th anniversary of the foundation of the country's armed forces.
There've been celebrations in the West African state of Upper Volta to mark the 16th anniversary of the foundation of the country's armed forces. A parade in the capital of Ouagadougou was watched by Upper Volta's military ruler, General Aboubacar Sangoule Lamizana.
SYNOPSIS: President Lamizana first came to power in the former French colony in 1966. At the celebrations he was greeted by the Defence Minister, General Baba Sy and other senior government officials.
Upper Volta became independent in 1960 and the armed forces were formed soon afterwards. The army took over after mass demonstrations and the threat of a general strike but in 1970 a measure of civilian rule was restored with the establishment of a 57-member Assembly following general elections. After a political power struggle between the Assembly and the Prime Minister, the military formally resumed government of the country in 1974, dissolving the Assembly and suspending the constitution. The Prime Minister and Assembly President were deposed.
The country's armed forces have a strength of 3,000, including an air squadron controlled by the army. A paramilitary force numbers about 2,800. President Lamizana told the troops they'd had 16 years of freedom, but above all of heavy responsibilities. He said the major goals facing the country were domestic harmony and economy prosperity. And he stressed the 'delicacy' of the armed forces' role in a context where the military and civilians were formed to collaborate more closely than in the past.