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Burkina Faso (UK: /, US: / (About this soundlisten); French: [buʁkina faso]) is a landlocked country in West Africa. It covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) and is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north; Niger to the east; Benin to the southeast; Togo and Ghana to the south; and Ivory Coast to the southwest. The July 2019 population estimate by the United Nations was 20,321,378. Burkina Faso is a francophone country, with French as the official language of government and business. Roughly 40% of the population speaks the Mossi language. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta (1958–1984), the country was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. Its citizens are known as Burkinabé (/ KEE-nə-bay). Its capital is Ouagadougou.

The Republic of Upper Volta was established on 11 December 1958 as a self-governing colony within the French Community, and on 5 August 1960 it gained full independence, with Maurice Yaméogo as president. After protests by students and labour union members, Yaméogo was deposed in the 1966 coup d'état, led by Sangoulé Lamizana, who became president. His rule coincided with the Sahel drought and famine, and facing problems from the country's traditionally powerful trade unions he was deposed in the 1980 coup d'état, led by Saye Zerbo. Encountering resistance from trade unions again, Zerbo's government was overthrown in the 1982 coup d'état, led by Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo. The leader of the leftist faction of Ouédraogo's government, Thomas Sankara, became prime minister but was later imprisoned. Efforts to free him led to the popularly-supported 1983 coup d'état, in which he became president. Sankara renamed the country Burkina Faso and launched an ambitious socioeconomic programme which included a nationwide literacy campaign, land redistribution to peasants, railway and road construction and the outlawing of female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy. Sankara was overthrown and killed in the 1987 coup d'état led by Blaise Compaoré – deteriorating relations with former coloniser France and its ally the Ivory Coast were the reason given for the coup.

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Nijlpaard.jpg

The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" (Ιπποπόταμος), is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae (the other is the Pygmy Hippopotamus.) The hippopotamus is the second largest land animal (after the elephant) and the heaviest extant artiodactyl, despite being considerably shorter than the giraffe.

The hippopotamus is semi-aquatic, inhabiting rivers and lakes where territorial bulls preside over a stretch of river and groups of 5 to 30 females and young. During the day they remain cool by staying in the water or mud; reproduction and childbirth both occur in water. They emerge at dusk to graze on grass. While hippopotamuses rest near each other in the water, grazing is a solitary activity and hippos are not territorial on land.

Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, their closest living relatives are cetaceans (whales, porpoises, etc.) from which they diverged about 55 million years ago. The common ancestor of whales and hippos split from other even-toed ungulates around 60 million years ago. The earliest known hippopotamus fossils, belonging to the genus Kenyapotamus in Africa, date to around 16 million years ago.

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Mosque in Bani
Credit: Chiappinik

Mosque in Bani, Burkina Faso.

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Blaise Compaoré

Blaise Compaoré (born February 3, 1951) has been the President of Burkina Faso since 1987. He is the founder of the ruling political party, the Congress for Democracy and Progress. He has been implicated in the murder of Thomas Sankara, his predecessor, in the 1987 coup. He was elected President in 1991, in an election that was boycotted by the opposition; he was re-elected in 1998 and 2005.

He took power on October 15, 1987 in a bloody coup that killed Sankara, his predecessor as head of state. Compaoré described the killing of Sankara as an "accident"; however, this claim is widely disputed. Upon taking the presidency, he reverted many of the policies of Sankara, claiming that his policy was a "rectification" of the Burkinabé revolution.

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