Recent events in Burkina Faso, following the 16 September coup d'état, are a grim reminder of what can happen when the run-up to crucial presidential elections goes awry.
Eleven people were killed in the capital Ouagadougou before civil society and the army teamed up and threatened to oust the Régiment de Sécurité Présidentielle (the presidential guard, or RSP) responsible for the coup.
More violence was averted thanks to a critical intervention by regional leaders, who convinced coup leader Gilbert Dienderé to hand power back to the transitional government.
The African Union's (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) reacted swiftly and condemned the coup. On 16 and 18 September, the PSC met and suspended Burkina Faso in accordance with its protocol on unconstitutional changes of government.