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Burkina Faso coup: Army ousts Damiba

DAKAR, Senegal — First there have been experiences of gunfire close to the presidential palace. Then state tv service was briefly minimize. By dusk, a army officer in camouflage was studying an announcement: For the sake of Burkina Faso’s nationwide safety, he mentioned, officers had seized energy.

The coup d’etat that unfolded Friday in Burkina Faso in some ways mirrored the one simply eight months in the past, when Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba ousted its democratically elected president, Roch Marc Kaboré, in what the army mentioned was an try to “get again heading in the right direction” amid growing violence. However this time, it was one other army chief ousting Damiba — and once more blaming the deteriorating safety scenario.

“It seems like deja vu,” mentioned Constantin Gouvy, a Burkina Faso researcher in Ouagadougou with the Clingendael Institute who focuses on battle within the Sahel. “It was just about the identical story as in January — besides the one distinction is that this was a coup-within-a-coup.”

The troopers who orchestrated the takeover on Friday — led by Capt. Ibrahim Traoré — mentioned in a press release broadcast on native tv that Damiba had begun to focus extra on politics than on addressing the safety points that drove the January coup. Since Islamist extremists gained a foothold within the West African nation seven years in the past, 1000’s have been killed and practically 1 in 10 folks have been displaced by violence.

Final yr, Burkina Faso grew to become the epicenter of the rising safety disaster within the Sahel, with its dying toll from rebel assaults surpassing that in Mali. Violence solely intensified after Damiba took energy, together with an assault that left 79 civilians lifeless over the summer season, a bomb that killed 35 final month and an assault on a convoy Monday by Islamist militants that the federal government mentioned killed 11 troopers and left 50 civilians lacking.

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Gouvy mentioned that frustration throughout the army about Damiba’s dealing with of the safety scenario had been brewing for months, with factions of the military hoping to see Damiba make use of new counteroffensive methods and create new alliances with worldwide companions — particularly Russia, whose assist governments in West Africa have more and more sought. At demonstrations in help of the coup Friday, some younger males got here carrying Russian flags.

On Saturday, the army faction supporting Traoré accused Damiba of taking refuge at a French army base and organizing a counterattack — which the French Embassy denied. Protesters bashed home windows and lit fires exterior the French Embassy in Ouagadougou, in accordance with movies on social media.

The French Embassy didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark, nor did a spokesman for Damiba’s authorities. His location was not generally known as of Saturday evening.

Burkina Faso is the newest nation within the area to expertise a coup, following Mali, Chad, Guinea and Sudan. The heads of the Financial Group of West African States, a 15-nation bloc generally known as ECOWAS, condemned the coup in a press release Friday, reiterating the significance of a transition to civilian rule. The U.S. State Division mentioned in a press release that it’s “deeply involved” by occasions in Burkina Faso and will likely be “intently monitoring this fluid scenario.”

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Rinaldo Depagne, the West Africa venture director on the Worldwide Disaster Group, mentioned he was struck by the obvious ease with which the troopers ousted Damiba.

“If there was a second coup, why not a 3rd?” he mentioned. “It’s an indication of the intense fragility of the Burkinabe state.”

In Ouagadougou, Honorine Ouedraogo awakened early on the morning of the coup to go to church. When one other girl on the road warned her there may be hassle, Ouedraogo mentioned she ignored her — she was bored with all of the rumors of coups that had been swirling and was decided to make it to early morning prayer.

By the point she left the Catholic church, roads have been blocked and state tv had been minimize off.

“It’s an everlasting restart,” mentioned Ouedraogo, 40, who mentioned she had by no means seen or heard of Traoré however had been upset with Damiba’s failure to achieve management of the violence.

Tenkodogo Isma, who runs a market within the capital, mentioned he supported the coup as a result of it was clear that Damiba — regardless of his claims to be higher than Kaboré — couldn’t handle the rising insecurity.

“We don’t need somebody we like, however slightly somebody who can handle and calm the jihadist scenario in Burkina,” he mentioned, including that a lot about Traoré and his intentions are nonetheless unsure.

“We simply need the nation to be at peace once more,” he mentioned, “to face collectively and assist one another.”

Daniel Gnienhoun in Ouagadougou contributed to this report.



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