|Coup leader Isaac Zida has close ties to US intelligence.|
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Lt. Col. Isaac Zida, the former deputy commander of the presidential guard, emerged Saturday as the country’s ruler — at least on an interim basis — after angry demonstrators attacked government buildings and forced Burkina Faso’s longtime strongman to flee the country.
In 2012, when he was a major, Zida attended a 12-day counterterrorism training course at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida that was sponsored by the Defense Department’s Joint Special Operations University, according to Army Lt. Col. Mark R. Cheadle, a spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command.
That same year, Zida also attended a five-day military intelligence course in Botswana that was financed by the U.S. government, Cheadle said.
The U.S. military has developed a close relationship in recent years with Burkina Faso, which has allowed the Pentagon to operate a secretive Special Operations base that it uses to conduct reconnaissance flights across West Africa.