Africa: Burkina Faso soldiers announce second coup d’état in eight months on television

Kiswensida Farouk Aziz Sorgho announces on television that Army Captain Ibrahim Traore has ousted Burkina Faso's military leader Paul-Henri Damiba and dissolved the government and constitution, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso September 30, 2022 in this still image taken from video. Radio Fernsehen Burkina Faso/Handout via REUTERS THIS PICTURE IS SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALE. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT. BURKINA FASO OFF. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALE IN BURKINA FASO

Army captain Ibrahim Traore has ousted Burkina Faso’s military leader Paul-Henri Damiba (Image: Reuters)

Members of the Burkina Faso armed forces have announced another coup d’état on state television.

Armed and masked soldiers confirmed they had overthrown the country’s military leader, Paul-Henri Damiba, and seized power.

In a statement read on national television late Friday, Army Captain Ibrahim Traore cited the former leader’s failure to deal with the Islamist insurgency as the reason for his ouster.

He also announced that the borders would be closed indefinitely and all political activities suspended before the current government was dissolved and its constitution suspended.

The takeover is the West African nation’s second coup in eight months after the ouster of democratically elected President Roch Marc cabaret

Lt. Col. Damiba’s junta said it would protect the country from Islamist insurgents who have been waging war in the country since 2015, but his efforts have stoked discontent within his own ranks.

A group of 11 soldiers were killed on Monday while escorting a convoy of civilian vehicles, news that sparked protests in the capital where gunfire was heard.

Young men chant slogans against the power of Lt. Col. Damiba, anti-France and pro-Russia, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Friday September 30, 2022. Residents say gunfire rang out early in the morning and the state broadcaster was shut off air, reflecting the Raising fears that another coup is underway. Friday's developments come shortly after coup leader-turned-presidential Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba returned from a trip to the UN General Assembly. (AP Photo/Sophie Garcia)

Young men chant pro-Russian and anti-French slogans as they take to the streets to support the coup (Image: AP)

epa10216262 People gather in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, September 30, 2022. Gunshots were heard near the presidential palace in Ouagadougou in what some residents say is a suspected coup attempt. Access to some government buildings, including the National Assembly and the National Broadcasting Station, has been blocked by the military. In January 2022, the current head of state, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Damiba, ousted President Roch Kabore in a coup. Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba has called for calm. EPA/ASSANE OUEDRAOGO EPA-EFE/ASSANE OUEDRAOGO

Gunshots were heard near the presidential palace in Ouagadougou before the army announced the country’s leader had been deposed (Image: EPA)

“With the situation deteriorating, we have tried several times to get Damiba to refocus the transition on the security issue,” read the statement signed by Traore.

“Damiba’s actions gradually convinced us that his ambitions differed from what we had set out to do. We decided today to remove Damiba,” it said.

Soldiers have urged locals to go about their usual business in the meantime and have pledged to the international community to honor existing agreements.

Damiba’s current whereabouts are unknown.

After the announcement, crowds gathered on the streets of the capital, Ouagadougou, to show their support for the coup.

Some of the protesters supported Russian involvement in curbing the violence, while others shouted slogans criticizing Burkina Faso’s former colonizer, France.

Kiswensida Farouk Aziz Sorgho announces on television that Army Captain Ibrahim Traore has ousted Burkina Faso's military leader Paul-Henri Damiba and dissolved the government and constitution, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso September 30, 2022 in this still image taken from video. Radio Fernsehen Burkina Faso/Handout via REUTERS THIS PICTURE IS SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALE. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT. BURKINA FASO OFF. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALE IN BURKINA FASO

The takeover is Burkina Faso’s second coup this year and eighth since the country gained independence in 1960 (Image: Reuters).

Wagner – Russian mercenaries active in Africa – had recently been deployed in support of a military junta in neighboring Mali, although it is not known whether or not they are currently present in Burkina Faso.

The incident is the eighth successful coup in the West African nation since gaining independence in 1960.

Many in Burkina Faso initially supported Damiba’s military takeover in January, out of frustration at the previous government’s inability to stem Islamist violence that has killed thousands and displaced at least two million.

The UN has expressed concern about the coup and called for calm.

“Burkina Faso needs peace, it needs stability and it needs unity to fight terrorist groups and criminal networks operating in parts of the country,” said UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.

Chrysogone Zugmore, president of the Burkina Faso Human Rights Movement, said Friday’s developments were “very regrettable” and claimed the instability was not helping in the fight against extremist violence.

“How can we hope to unite the people and the army when the latter is marked by such grave divisions?” Zugmore said.

“It is time for these reactionary and political military factions to stop sidelining Burkina Faso.”

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/01/africa-burkina-faso-soldiers-announce-second-coup-in-eight-months-on-tv-17485119/ Africa: Burkina Faso soldiers announce second coup d'état in eight months on television

Justin Scacco

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