It was around 8pm local time when a military man in fatigues, bulletproof vest and red beret, surrounded by hooded and helmeted men, appeared on the Burkina Broadcasting Corporation (RTB).
He announced that Ibrahim Traoré was taking over as head of the Mouvement patriotique pour la sauvegarde et la restauration, MPSR (Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration), thereby overthrowing Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.
This is the second coup in Burkina Faso this year. In January, Damiba had taken power by force of arms. According to close sources, he is doing well and is in Camp Kamboinsin, where the Burkinabe special forces are based.
The government, the transitional charter and the National Assembly are dissolved, it was announced. The country’s borders are now closed and a curfew has been put in place from 9pm to 5am.
Early Friday morning, gunfire echoed was heard across the capital and soldiers were deployed. The “Cobras” seemed to be manoeuvring. Negotiations were then held with the transitional authorities, but they were not successful.
Ibrahim Traoré is not part of these “Cobra” units. Until Friday, he was the commander of the artillery regiment in Kaya, the first military region, located about 100 kilometers from the capital. He is one of the young officers who overthrew Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in favor of Damiba, but who have since been critical of the transitional president.
The crisis has been brewing for several months between Damiba and these young officers, most of whom were engaged in the front lines against armed groups.
Long time coming?
In a statement signed by the 34-year-old Traoré, he said: “Faced with the deteriorating situation, we tried several times to get Damiba to refocus the transition on the security question.”
In Friday’s announcement, it was promised that in due time, the nation would come together “to appoint a new civilian or military president” and a new “transitional charter”.
It’s now official: there is a #coup within a coup in #BurkinaFaso. Little is known about coup leader Ibrahim Traoré. What we do know is that the coup came amid spiralling tensions within #MPSR. Here’s a look at the main points from tonight’s announcement and what led to this 🧵 pic.twitter.com/rli8RGg07T
— Constantin Gouvy (@ConstantinGouvy) September 30, 2022
The regional group ECOWAS and the African Union have both condemned the ousting of Damiba calling it “unconstitutional”.
Moussa Faki, the Chair of the AU, called on the military to refrain from any violence against civilians and to restore the “Constitutional order by 1 July 2024, at the latest.”
— African Union (@_AfricanUnion) October 1, 2022