Captain Ibrahim Traore takes over the leadership of Burkina Faso in a second coup
Ouagadougou - The military in Burkina Faso under the command of Captain Ibrahim Traore last Friday evening took over the leadership of the country from Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba for failing to stem a jihadist insurgency.
Captain Traore led other military officers in seizing control of Burkina Faso on Friday evening. He claimed that Colonel Damiba has failed in restoring peace to the jihadist-wracked country as they dismissed a junta leader who had himself come to power in a coup at the start of this year.
Speaking to the Voice of America last Friday, the 34-year-old captain accused Colonel Damiba of failing to unite the country.
"We have decided to take our responsibilities, driven by a single ideal: the restoration of security and integrity of our territory. Our common ideal was betrayed by our leader with whom we had placed all our trust. Far from liberating the occupied territories, the once peaceful areas have come under terrorist control." says Captain Traore.
The rebelling military also announced the closure of air and land borders from midnight, as well as the suspension of the constitution and the dissolution of the government and transitional legislative assembly.
Captain Traore previously head the anti-jihadist special forces unit known as ‘Cobra’ in the northern region of Kaya.
Currently, the overthrown leader Colonel Damiba remained unknown.
The US said it was deeply concerned by the situation in Ouagadougou and encouraged its citizens to limit movements within the country.
A statement State Department spokesperson called upon Captain Traore for a return to calm and restraint by all actors.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned in the strongest possible terms the seizure of power by force that has just taken place.
ECOWAS called the latest coup "inappropriate" at a time when it said progress was being made for a return to constitutional order by July 1, 2024.
The French foreign ministry told its citizens in the city, believed to number between 4,000 and 5,000, to stay home.
In Brussels, the European Union expressed "concern" at the events unfolding in the Burkina capital.
Earlier on Friday, Damiba's Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration (MPSR) had said there was an ‘internal crisis in the army’ prompting troop deployments in key areas of the capital.
AFP journalists saw troops block several main roads and intersections in Ouagadougou, with soldiers also stationed outside the state television centre.
Government spokesman Lionel Bilgo had said the "crisis" concerned an army pay dispute, and that Damiba was taking part in negotiations.
During the morning, shots rang out in the Ouaga 2000 neighbourhood, which houses both the presidential and military junta headquarters.
"I heard heavy detonations around 4:30 am and now the roads around my home have been sealed off by military vehicles," a resident close to the presidential palace said.
State television was cut for several hours prior to the military announcement, broadcasting just a blank screen with the message "no video signal".
In the afternoon, an AFP journalist saw a group of several hundred people gather in a city square making a range of demands, including the departure of Damiba and the end of the French military presence.
By the evening the soldiers were still in place at key points of the city, and the streets were mostly deserted.