A group of soldiers led by Captain Ibrahim Traore of Burkina Faso’s army staged a coup on Friday night, ousting the leader of the military junta that had ruled the country since January, Lieutenant Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.
In a message to the nation on RTB state television, the coup plotters accused Dhamiba of deviating from the ideals of protecting and restoring the patriotic movement on behalf of the junta that seized power in a September 24 coup. January.
After a day of confusion marked by military uprisings and shootings in strategic areas of the capital, Ouagadougou, the new coup plotters, who still claim to belong to the MPSR, announced several measures, such as the suspension of the constitution and transitional charter. . Likewise, the military, led by Traore, the country’s new strongman, ordered the dissolution of the government and transitional legislative assembly and a curfew from 21:00 local time (same GMT) to 5:00 local time. .
They also ordered the closure of national borders until further notice and the suspension of all political and civil society activities. “The active forces of the nation will be called shortly to adopt a new transitional charter and appoint a new president.” [Burkina] “Faso, civil or military,” they said. The military’s televised appearance came hours after Burkina Faso’s president assured he would hold talks with the military, which rose up this morning to restore peace in the African country.
This Saturday, several hours after the coup, several soldiers fired warning shots in the center of Ouagadougou, including asking citizens to leave the area where several military helicopters were flying low. Confusion gripped the city as traders began to close their shops in the center of the capital, where several streets were closed again after soldiers removed barriers this morning.
The soldier told Efe that positions had been reinforced in the area as a precautionary measure against possible deployment of soldiers still loyal to Damiba. Burkina Faso’s executive spokesman, Lionel Bilgo, told local television station BF1 yesterday that “no member of the government has been arrested”, after some rumors pointed to Dimba’s possible arrest. “This is an internal crisis in the army and discussions are ongoing within it to find a solution without obstacles,” Bilgo added.
Advising Efe, a lieutenant in the General Staff indicated that Dhamiba is “in a safe place” and that “he is fine”, but declined to answer other questions, insisting that the situation is unstable.
Burkina Faso has been in an uncertain situation since the military occupied several strategic areas of Ouagadougou early this morning. According to local media, disgruntled special forces soldiers who are members of the Cobra unit were behind this movement.
According to Efe, soldiers were stationed around the national television (whose signal was cut off) at the central circle of the United Nations; Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, where the European Union headquarters is located, and Ouaga 2000 in the residential area.
In the center of the capital, Efe saw citizens applauding soldiers guarding certain streets, as well as protesters waving Russian flags (Russian mercenaries are helping in neighboring Mali’s anti-jihadist fight) and calling on the rebel military to topple Damba.
Explosions were also heard in the early morning in the military camp of General Baba Si, where the coup d’état led by Damiba began on January 24, and which later gave rise to sporadic gunshots. These circumstances came after a convoy of supplies escorted by the Burkinabe army was attacked by terrorists on September 26 near the northern town of Gaskinde.
The official provisional balance was eleven dead soldiers found, 28 wounded (including 20 soldiers, Homeland Security volunteers – civilians working with the armed forces – and 7 civilians) and up to fifty missing civilians. Also this Thursday, a protest was held in Bobo-Dioulasso, the country’s second largest city, where demonstrators carried banners reading “Damiba resign” or “We want peace”.
Condemnation of the African Union and the European Union
The President of the African Union (AU) Commission, Musa Faki Mahamat, condemned the coup “unequivocally” after hearing the news. In a statement from the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, the leader expressed his “deep concern at the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government in Burkina Faso and elsewhere on the African continent”. Mahamat called on Burkina Faso’s armed forces to “immediately and completely refrain from violence or threats” against the population, civil liberties and human rights.
The Chadian politician also called on the army to “ensure strict compliance with the electoral deadlines for the restoration of constitutional order no later than July 1, 2024.” In a statement published by the AU on Twitter, the president reaffirmed “the African Union’s continued support to the people of Burkina Faso to guarantee peace, stability and development in the country”.
The European Union joined the condemnation. The top foreign affairs official, Josep Borrell, lamented the second military coup in eight months and warned it would jeopardize efforts to oversee the country’s transition.
“The EU calls for the fulfillment of the commitments made under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreement reached on 3 July to support Burkina Faso’s return to constitutional order at the earliest.” than on July 1, 2024,” said Boreli’s statement.
For its part, the United Nations has limited itself to calls for calm and an end to violence in Burkina Faso, the scene of a coup just eight months after the army seized power in another military coup.
“The UN calls for calm and to avoid further violence. Burkina Faso needs peace, it needs stability and it needs unity to fight the terrorist groups and criminal networks that operate in some parts of the country,” said spokesman Stephane Dujarric at his daily press conference.
Jihadist violence since 2015
Since April 2015, Burkina Faso has experienced frequent jihadist attacks by groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, whose actions affect ten of the country’s thirteen regions, particularly in the north. Due to insecurity, the number of internally displaced persons in Burkina Faso has increased to almost two million.
In November 2021, an attack on a gendarmerie post killed 53 people (49 gendarmerie and 4 civilians), causing widespread social discontent that led to strong protests calling for the resignation of Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kabore. A few months later, on January 24, the military led by Damiba seized power in a coup – the fourth in West Africa since August 2020 – and ousted the president.
Source: El Diario