Soldiers who staged a short-lived coup in Burkina Faso abandoned their barracks in the capital late Tuesday after a tense standoff with loyalist troops, the military said, as authorities battled to regain control of the crisis-hit country. Coup leader General Gilbert Diendere told AFP he feared there had been many deaths from the assault on the sprawling military base, which is next to the presidential palace in Quagadougou. The army launched an assault on the barracks of elite presidential guard (RSP) after the putschists, who support deposed leader Blaise Compaore, refused to give up their weapons in line with a peace deal mediated by regional powers. After the army fired on the barracks with heavy weapons, and as their leader pleaded with his men to lay down their arms to “avoid a bloodbath,” the crack troops behind the September 17 coup stood down, the military said. “The situation is calm. An assault was carried out; there was no confrontation,” said General Pingrenoma Zagre, the Burkinabe army’s chief of staff. It was not immediately clear how many people died. The government issued a statement hailing the “liberation” of RSP camps by “our valiant defence and security forces,” urging the public to now work together to boost national unity.