Last updated on October 3rd, 2022 at 07:29 am
A military leader in Burkina Faso, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, has been overthrown, according to an announcement that was made on national television by an army captain. The inability of Lt. Colonel Damiba to deal with an Islamist insurgency was mentioned as the basis for this by Ibrahim Traore. He also said that all political activity would stop immediately and that all borders would be shut down.
In January, a junta led by Lt. Col. Damiba successfully ousted an elected government, blaming the latter’s inability to stop Islamist terrorism. Lt. Col. Damiba overthrew President Roch Kaboré in January on the grounds that the former leader had failed to address the growing threat posed by militant Islamists. When the head of the junta was sworn in as president in February, he made the statement that “We have more than what it takes to win this battle.” However, his administration has not been successful in putting an end to the carnage caused by jihadists.
On Monday, eleven soldiers were killed while they were guarding a convoy of civilian vehicles in the country’s northern region. The soldiers were protecting a civilian population. After hearing heavy gunshots in various parts of the capital earlier on Friday, Lieutenant Colonel Damiba pleaded with the local community to maintain calm. A little before the local time of 20:00, more than 20 armed soldiers, the majority of whom had their faces veiled, appeared on official television. In a statement released by Traore, it was said that “as the situation got worse, we tried more than once to get Damiba to put the transition back on the security issue.”
“The way Damiba conducted himself progressively led us to believe that his goals were moving in a direction that was inconsistent with what we had intended to accomplish. “Today, we made the decision to let go of Damiba,” it said. Also mentioned was a curfew that will be in effect from 21:00 until 05:00. It is unknown where Lt. Col. Damiba is currently located.
The United States issued a statement expressing its “great concern” over the recent events in Burkina Faso and urged its people to restrict their travel within the country. A representative for the State Department issued the following statement: “We ask for a return to calm and restraint by all actors.”
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) issued a statement of objection to the proposal, declaring that it “reaffirms its unequivocal opposition to any taking or retention of the authority via unconstitutional methods.” The move was criticized. In the early hours of the morning, residents of the capital city of Ouagadougou reported hearing gunfire and explosions. Some of the sounds seemed to have come from close to the main military barracks and the Presidential Palace.
After the morning rush hour, the city was mostly deserted, and soldiers were stationed throughout the streets, blocking several roads and keeping an eye on key strategic areas. State television had to stop broadcasting, and later in the day, more gunfire could be heard.
The lieutenant colonel stated that there was a “complicated scenario” because some of the soldiers were experiencing “mood swings” as the rumors of a coup escalated. The military chief told people to stay calm and not speculate on social media. He then said, “Talks are going on to bring back peace and calm.”
However, a large number of residents do not report feeling any safer, and there have been demonstrations in numerous cities around the country during the past week. On Friday afternoon, a number of people demanded that Lieutenant Colonel Damiba be removed from his position by taking to the streets of the city.
In 2015, an Islamist uprising broke out in Burkina Faso, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and the displacement of an estimated two million more from their homes. Since the country’s independence in 1960, there have been a total of eight successful military coups.