Burkinabe coup leader says situation is under control

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THROWN OUT: Damiba and his colleagues have been overthrown

Ougadougou, Burkina Faso | Xinhua | Burkina Faso’s self-declared military leader Captain Ibrahim Traore said Sunday that the situation was under control after he announced the eviction of President Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba late Friday.

“We would like to inform the population that the situation is under control and that things are gradually returning to order,” said Traore on the public television RTB.

He urged the population to freely go about their business and to refrain from any act of violence and vandalism, especially those that target the French embassy and the French military base which reportedly had sheltered President Paul-Henri Damiba who was planning a counter-offensive. France denied that the base had hosted Damiba after his ouster on Friday.

On Saturday evening, in a message on the Facebook page of the Presidency, Damiba called on Captain Traore to come to his senses in order to avoid a fratricidal war. The whereabouts of Damiba, however, remain unknown.

Gunshots were heard in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital on Friday morning, and access to the presidential palace, the public television, and certain strategic points in the city were blocked by soldiers. Captain Ibrahim Traore announced later on Friday evening that the country’s president Damiba was evicted.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on Friday condemned the latest violence in the West African country and called upon the Burkina Faso military to immediately and totally refrain from any acts of violence or threats to the civilian population, civil liberties, and human rights and ensure strict compliance with the electoral deadline for the restoration of constitutional order by July 1, 2024, at the latest.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday also expressed deep concern over the situation in Burkina Faso following a coup that ousted President Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. The secretary-general “strongly condemns any attempt to seize power by the force of arms and calls on all actors to refrain from violence and seek dialogue,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, in a statement.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba came to power after former Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was overthrown in a coup on Jan. 24. Damiba was sworn in as the new president of Burkina Faso on Feb. 16. ■

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