Burkina Faso: Ibrahim Traoré proclaimed President, Damiba ousted

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Saturday, 1 October 2022 15:10

The Burkinabe military announced that they had dismissed Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba from his duties on Friday 30 September 30 on national television. DR/screenshot RTB

After a day of confusion and gunfire, Burkina Faso's Lieutenant Paul-Henri Damiba was removed from office Friday evening 30 September. Ibrahim Traoré, the country's new strongman is a member of the Kaya artillery regiment.

It was around 8pm local time when a military man in fatigues, bulletproof vest and red beret, surrounded by hooded and helmeted men, appeared on the Burkina Broadcasting Corporation (RTB).

He announced that Ibrahim Traoré was taking over as head of the Mouvement patriotique pour la sauvegarde et la restauration, MPSR (Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration), thereby overthrowing Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.

This is the second coup in Burkina Faso this year. In January, Damiba had taken power by force of arms. According to close sources, he is doing well and is in Camp Kamboinsin, where the Burkinabe special forces are based.

The government, the transitional charter and the National Assembly are dissolved, it was announced. The country’s borders are now closed and a curfew has been put in place from 9pm to 5am.

Discontent

Early Friday morning, gunfire echoed was heard across the capital and soldiers were deployed. The “Cobras” seemed to be manoeuvring. Negotiations were then held with the transitional authorities, but they were not successful.

Ibrahim Traoré is not part of these “Cobra” units. Until Friday, he was the commander of the artillery regiment in Kaya, the first military region, located about 100 kilometers from the capital. He is one of the young officers who overthrew Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in favor of Damiba, but who have since been critical of the transitional president.

The crisis has been brewing for several months between Damiba and these young officers, most of whom were engaged in the front lines against armed groups.

Long time coming?

In a statement signed by the 34-year-old Traoré, he said: “Faced with the deteriorating situation, we tried several times to get Damiba to refocus the transition on the security question.”

In Friday’s announcement,  it was promised that  in due time, the nation would come together “to appoint a new civilian or military president” and a new “transitional charter”.

Reactions

The regional group ECOWAS and the African Union have both condemned the ousting of Damiba calling it “unconstitutional”.

Moussa Faki, the Chair of the AU, called on the military to refrain from any violence against civilians and to restore the “Constitutional order by 1 July 2024, at the latest.”

 

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