Dissident soldiers in Upper Volta toppled the government of Col. Saye Zerbo in a predawn coup yesterday, accusing him of turning the military into "agents of terror," Ouagadougou Radio reported.
The soldiers formed a junta, called the Provisional People's Salvation Council, which immediately closed the borders of the West African country and imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew, the radio said. No details of the junta's program were given, and the new leaders were not identified.
"He betrayed the confidence of the people and turned the military into agents of terror of the Voltaic masses," the radio, monitored in Abidjan, said.
Zerbo took power in a bloodless military coup against democratically elected president Sangoule Lamizana in November 1980. The 50-year-old veteran of France's Indochinese and Algerian campaigns had faced a worsening political and economic crisis before the coup. A shadowy armed forces council, which existed before his own coup two years ago, delivered an ultimatum last May telling him to resign within six to nine months if he failed to resolve the nation's problems.
Upper Volta, a landlocked country of about 6.5 million people, has virtually no natural resources. It survives on international aid and remittances from more than a million citizens working in the neighboring Ivory Coast.
Per capita income is about $200 a year. The aid Upper Volta receives, mainly from France and the United States, exceeds the country's annual budget.