OUAGADOUGOU, March 7, 2011 (AFP) – Around 20 prisoners escaped in Burkina Faso on Monday after teenagers set two police stations on fire to protest against violent clashes that killed four students last month. Defying a government order to return to classes, middle and high school students set fire to a police station in Yako, 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of the capital, letting a dozen detainees loose, a police officer told AFP. Others burned down another police station in Koupela, 140 kilometres to the east, allowing nine prisoners to escape, residents said. “There is nothing. Everything is gone, even the prisoners,” a local teacher said. ”Now children are playing in the remains of the police station,” he added.
Six people, including four students and a policeman, were killed in riots in late February in the town of Koudougou, 100 kilometres west of Ouagadougou, after a student died in disputed circumstances. The government sacked a regional governor following the riots. The violence erupted after the death of a 24-year-old man who authorities said died of meningitis but demonstrators said had been abused by police after an interrogation. Elsewhere in the country, peaceful protests took place Monday in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso’s second city, and six other towns.