Burkina Faso: Second coup in eight months, junta leader replaced

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Burkina Faso: second coup in eight months, the leader of the junta is replaced

Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba arrived at power in a putsch last January.

Burkina Faso experienced a second coup in eight months on Friday, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, came to power in a putsch at the end of January, having in turn been removed from office by the military.

After a day peppered with gunfire in the presidency district of Ouagadougou, around fifteen soldiers in fatigues and sometimes hooded spoke shortly before 8 p.m. local time on the radio and television set national.

Lt. Col. Damiba is removed from his position as president of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR, the junta's leading body), the military said in a statement read by a captain.

The new strong man of the country, appointed president of the MPSR, is now Captain Ibrahim Traoré, he said.

The fate of Mr. Damiba remained unknown Friday evening.

The putschists also announced the closure of the country's land and air borders from midnight. They also proclaimed the suspension of the Constitution and the dissolution of the government and the Transitional Legislative Assembly.

A curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. is also established.

The military invoke the continued deterioration of the security situation in the country.

We have decided to assume our responsibilities, driven by #x27;one ideal: the restoration of the security and integrity of our territory, they continued.

Our initial common ideal was betrayed by our leader in whom we had placed all our trust. Far from liberating the occupied territories, the once peaceful areas have come under terrorist control, they said.

In Burkina, the coups most often result in violent demonstrations.

When he came to power on January 24, also announced by a statement read by armed men on television, Mr. Damiba had promised to make security his priority in this country undermined for years by bloody jihadist attacks. . But these have multiplied in recent months, especially in the North.

Friday was a very tense day in the Burkinabè capital, with gunshots heard before dawn in the district housing the presidency and junta headquarters, according to several witnesses, and then again at the start of the morning. afternoon.

Several axes of the city were blocked all day by soldiers posted on the main crossroads of the city, in particular in front of the national television headquarters.

Friday evening, shortly before the television announcement, a large military force was deployed in certain districts of the capital, AFP journalists noted.

During the day, government spokesman Lionel Bilgo spoke of a military crisis against a backdrop of claims related to bonuses.

In the afternoon, several hundred people, some of whom were waving Russian flags, gathered in the large Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou to demand military cooperation with Russia, to reject the French military presence in the Sahel and to demand the departure of Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba, a noted an AFP journalist.

Moscow's influence has grown steadily in several French-speaking African countries in recent years and it is not uncommon to see Russian flags in such demonstrations.

As in Mali, Vladimir Putin's Russia is gaining more and more ground in the country to the detriment of France.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked its nationals in Ouagadougou , estimated between 4,000 and 5,000, to stay at home.

The coup led in January by Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba overthrew elected President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, already unpopular in the face of rising jihadist attacks.

However, in recent months, deadly attacks that have affected dozens of civilians and soldiers have multiplied in the north and east, where cities are now under blockade by jihadists, who are blowing up bridges with dynamite and attacking supply convoys circulating in the area.

Two of these convoys were attacked in September with a heavy toll on each occasion.

Thirty-five civilians, including many children, died in an improvised device explosion on September 5. And on Monday, 11 soldiers were killed and 50 civilians missing in the attack on their convoy.

On September 13, Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba sacked his Minister of Defense to assume this role himself.

Political instability and terrorist attacks have threatened the peace and security of the country.

Other attacks have particularly marked public opinion, such as the Seytenga massacre in June, during which 86 civilians were killed.

Since 2015, recurrent attacks by armed movements affiliated with the jihadists of Al-Qaeda and the armed group Islamic State, mainly in the north and east of the country, have caused thousands of deaths and caused the displacement of some two million people.

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