Soldiers fired this Saturday as a warning signal to those who were in the center of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, and asked citizens to leave that area, where several military helicopters were flying low.
Confusion gripped the city a day after a group of soldiers, led by Army Captain Ibrahim Traoré, staged a coup and overthrew the leader of the ruling military junta, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. .
As reported EphBefore the warning shots, the merchants began to close their shops in the center of the capital, where some streets were closed again after the barriers placed by the soldiers were lifted this morning. A soldier told the Spanish agency that positions were reinforced in that area as a precaution against a possible deployment of soldiers still loyal to Damiba.
An Army General Staff officer also assured that the deposed leader is still in Ouagadougou. Damiba “is fine, he is in a safe place and is well protected,” he explained on condition of anonymity, according to Eph.
Several helicopters were seen in Kamboissin, an outlying northern district that is home to a military camp and troops from the French-led Barkhane anti-terrorist force flying into the city center. One of the planes landed in the central Guillaume Ouédraogo military barracks.
In a message addressed to the nation last night, the coup plotters accused Damiba of deviating from the ideal of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR), the name of the junta that took power in the coup on January 24, and not stopping the insecurity caused by jihadist terrorism.
After an uncertain Friday marked by a military uprising and gunshots in strategic areas of Ouagadougou, the coup plotters announced the suspension of the Constitution and the Transitional Charter. Likewise, led by Traoré, the country’s new strong man, they decreed the dissolution of the Government and the Transitional Legislative Assembly and the establishment of a curfew from 9:00 p.m. local time (same GMT) to 5:00 a.m. local time.
They also ordered the closure of national borders and the suspension of all political and civil society activities. Burkina Faso has suffered frequent jihadist attacks since April 2015, committed by groups linked to both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, whose actions particularly affect the north of the country.
This report recalls that in November 2021, an attack on a Gendarmerie post caused 53 deaths -49 gendarmes and 4 civilians-, which generated great social discontent that translated into strong protests to demand the resignation of the Burkinabe president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
A few months later, on January 24, the military led by Damiba seized power in a coup – the fourth in West Africa since August 2020 – and deposed the president.
With information from Efe and AP.