Military officers on Friday night confirmed the removal from office of Burkina Faso’s junta leader.
Africa Today News, New York reports that the dismissal of Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had seized power in a coup last January, was announced in a statement read out on national television.
The rebelling military also ordered the immediate the closure of borders from midnight, as well as the suspension of the constitution and the dissolution of the government.
Ibrahim Traore cited Lt. Col. Damiba’s inability to deal with an Islamist insurgency as the reason for his ouster.
He also announced that borders were closed indefinitely and all political activities were suspended.
Lt Col Damiba’s junta overthrew an elected government in January, 2022, citing a failure to halt Islamist attacks.
But his administration has also not been able to quell the jihadist violence. On Monday, 11 soldiers were killed when they were escorting a convoy of civilian vehicles in the north of the country.
Earlier on Friday, Lt Col Damiba urged the population to remain calm after heavy gunfire was heard in parts of the capital.
More than a dozen armed soldiers – most with their faces covered – appeared on the Radio-Television broadcaster shortly before 20:00 local time.
“Faced with the deteriorating situation, we tried several times to get Damiba to refocus the transition on the security question,” said the statement signed by Traore.
“Damiba’s actions gradually convinced us that his ambitions were diverting away from what we set out to do. We decided this day to remove Damiba,” it said.
A curfew from 21:00 to 05:00 was also announced.
Before dawn, shots, and explosions were heard in the capital, Ouagadougou, some of them coming from near the presidential palace and main military barracks.
After sunrise, the normally bustling city was largely deserted, with soldiers on the streets blocking some roads and guarding key strategic points.