Burkina Faso police say they'll end protests

Police in Burkina Faso said Saturday they will end their demonstrations, as government officials said six people have died in recent unrest in the impoverished West African nation.

Jerome Bougouma, the minister of territorial administration and security, said a boy was killed by a bullet in the capital of Ouagadougou in the latest episode of unrest, when police began shooting into the air on Wednesday to protest their living conditions. Bougouma also said 10 people were wounded in that incident.

Health Minister Adama Traore said six people, including the boy, have been killed in Ouagadougou since unrest started in March.

In the country's south, a resident said four people were wounded by bullets. Students on Friday in the town of Manga torched a police station to protest the wounding of an 11-year-old girl on Wednesday night.

Police representatives said in a radio statement that they decided to stop their protests and return to duty after two days of discussion with officials.

"Our grievances have been received and examined," said representative Boureima Konate. "Discussions are still going on and we have confidence in President (Blaise) Compaore and his government to positively solve our problems."

The police protests echoed earlier unrest involving merchants and students.

Last week students torched the ruling party headquarters and the outgoing prime minister's house in the central city of Koudougou.

A mutiny by soldiers started April 14 when members of the presidential guard began firing into the air, demanding unpaid housing allowances. By April 18, soldiers in several cities north, south, east and west of Ouagadougou joined in and students followed suit.

Compaore tried to stem the unrest by dissolving the government and removing the country's security chiefs. He also named himself defense minister.

This year's uprisings in the impoverished West African nation began in late February when students in Koudougou protested a young man's death in police custody. The government said he had meningitis, but accusations he had been mistreated while in custody fueled protests in which at least six people died and buildings were torched.

Experts say hostilities in the landlocked West African country have been simmering for a long time.

Compaore, a former army captain, came to power in a 1987 coup in which Burkina Faso's first president, Thomas Sankara, was killed. Compaore was re-elected in November in a vote that the opposition said was rigged.