Burkina President dismisses security minister

Burkina Faso`s President Michel Kafando removed security minister Colonel Auguste-Denise Barry from his post Sunday, according to a statement read out on state television, in a move widely seen as appeasing the country`s powerful army.

The Presidential Security Regiment (RSP), an elite corps considered the best trained in the Burkinabe army, targeted Barry after pushing for the resignation of his ally Prime Minister Isaac Zida, who was kept in office but stripped of his secondary defence portfolio on Thursday.

The RSP caused a brief political crisis in February when they demanded Zida be sacked after he had publically called for the corps to be disbanded.

Barry is seen as a key backer of Zida at a moment when the army is attempting to pressure the interim government to hand over to an entirely civilian administration.

Tensions had been rising between Zida -- a former military officer who took power after President Blaise Compaore was ousted from power by a popular uprising in October -- and the RSP, considered the former leader`s right-hand men.

The RSP was widely criticised for its heavy-handed response to demonstrations that toppled Compaore after 27 years in power, during which 24 people were killed and more than 600 injured.

Kafando meanwhile appointed regional cooperation minister Moussa Nebie as his new foreign minister, a position he had heretofore held himself, promoting Nebie to the third most powerful position in Burkina Faso`s government.

The country has been run by transitional authorities since Compaore fled the country last year.

The military briefly took control of the landlocked nation of 17 million people before handing over to the interim government, which is due to stay in place until presidential and legislative elections are held on October 11.