Burkina Faso soldiers announce overthrow of military government

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Members of Burkina Faso’s army have seized control of state television, declaring that they had ousted military leader Paul-Henri Damiba, dissolved the government, and suspended the constitution and transitional charter. 

In a statement read on national television late on Friday, Captain Ibrahim Traore said a group of officers had decided to remove Damiba due to his inability to deal with a worsening Islamist insurgency. He announced that borders were closed indefinitely and that all political and civil society activities were suspended. 

This is the country’s second military coup in eight months, with Damiba only assuming power in January after outsing former President Rock Kabore via a coup of his own in light of growing frustration over the state of the country’s security.

Witness statements confirm hearing shots on Friday around Burkina Faso’s presidential palace and the headquarters of its military junta currently in power, as troops blocked Ouagadougou’s streets and state television broadcasting was cut, AFP reported earlier in the day.

The attacks have been affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group even after Damiba earlier this month dismissed his defense minister and assumed the position himself. Only one new minister has been introduced into the transitional government, Colonel-Major Silas Keita, who is assigned to be responsible for national defense and was promoted to brigadier general. 

On September 28, a convoy carrying supplies was attacked in the town of Djibo, leaving 11 soldiers killed and around 50 civilians missing. More than 40% of the African nation, previously a French colony, is not under government control as most of the Sahel, including Niger and Mali, is suffering from the outcomes of the insurgency, which is beginning to spill over into the Ivory Coast and Togo.

Author: Dr. Funmi Beckley

fumbeck@gmail.com

Abeokuta, Nigeria

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