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OUAGADOUGOU: Heavy gunfire could be heard from the main military camp in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou early on Sunday morning, a Reuters witness said.

The gunfire at the Sangoule Lamizana camp, which houses the army's general staff, began at least as early as 5:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) and could still be heard as of 6:30.

A government spokesperson said he also heard gunfire and was seeking information.

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 at least eight soldiers earlier this month on suspicion of conspiring against the government.

Humanitarian aid tops agenda as Taliban meet Western officials

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 President Roch Kabore to step down.

The Burkinabe 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.

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