OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso ( Associated Press) — People in Burkina Faso woke up on Tuesday to a new military-led junta after rebel troops ousted democratically-elected President Roach Marc Christian Kabor and seized control of the country.
Days of gunfire and uncertainty in the capital Ouagadougou came to an end on Monday evening, when more than a dozen soldiers on state media announced that the country was being run by their new organization, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration.
“Today’s events mark a new era for Burkina Faso. They are an opportunity for all the people of Burkina Faso to heal their wounds, to rebuild their harmony and to celebrate the integrity of who we always are: Said Captain Sisdor Caber Oudraogo.
Many residents of the capital appeared pleased with the coup and celebrations were planned for Tuesday, but regional African leaders and international bodies condemned the military takeover.
The junta closed borders, imposed a curfew, suspended the constitution and dissolved the government and parliament, saying it would return Burkina Faso to a constitutional order, but did not specify when. Soldiers said the overthrown president was safe, but did not say where he was kept. A publicly circulated resignation letter signed by Kabore stated that he was stepping down in the best interest of the country.
The coup comes after growing despair over the Kabor government’s inability to stop the jihadist insurgency that has ravaged the country, killing thousands and displacing 1.5 million. However, it is not clear what may change under the new junta, as unskilled forces have struggled to fight jihadists affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
“A simple change in leadership is unlikely to turn the tide,” said researcher Konstantin Gouwi, a Burkina Faso researcher working for the Netherlands-based Clingendael Institute. “While we do know that some of the demands of the rebels include better materials and reinforcements, better training and better care for the families of wounded and martyred soldiers. Essentially, they are demanding a better hierarchy that listens to their concerns. Is.”
While not much is known about the new leaders, they appear young and are said to be within the higher ranks of lower level officials. The new apparent leader, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henri Sandogo Damiba, is a published writer in his early 40s and had recently been promoted by Cabore.
A rebel soldier, who insisted on anonymity for his own safety, told The Associated Press that young officers who had experienced war needed to run the country, not older people who had undergone military training. never used their guns outside the U.S., in a country that had never seen fighting before. He said that young men may not have the experience of governance but they can learn. He said that the public is now meeting with religious and community leaders as well as with the previous government to decide the way forward.
For some in Burkina Faso, the youth of soldiers is one reason they believe they will be able to succeed.
“If you look at the people who have taken power they look small and we hope they will bring young ideas, better ideas,” said Aliu Ouedraogo, a resident of Ouagadougou.
Meanwhile, the international community has condemned the acquisition. The West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS demanded that the troops return to their barracks and urged dialogue with the authorities to resolve the issues. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on coup leaders to lay down arms.
A Western diplomat in Ouagadougou, who was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the military takeover would have a serious impact on Burkina Faso’s relations with international partners and negatively impact the country’s security and development, including seeking international aid. could.
The US State Department said it was deeply concerned by the events in Burkina Faso, calling for restraint by all actors, adding that it would carefully review events on the ground for any potential impact on aid.
A statement from department spokesman Ned Price said, “We condemn these acts and call on those responsible to deter the situation, prevent the detention of President Cabore and any other members of his government and prevent civilian-led We call upon the government to return to the constitutional order.” Released late Monday night. “We acknowledge the enormous stress placed on Burkinabe society and security forces by ISIS and JNIM, but urge military officials to step back, return to their barracks and address their concerns through dialogue.”