Ouagadougou, Oct 1 (EFE).- The African Union on Saturday condemned an overthrow led by military officials in Burkina Faso who have removed Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba in the second coup d’état in the country in eight months.
On Friday a group of soldiers led by 34 year-old army captain Ibrahim Traore led a coup to oust Damiba, the leader of the military junta that ruled the country.
In a damning statement, the African Union Commission’s chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the institution “unequivocally condemns the second takeover of power by force in Burkina Faso.”
Mahamat urged the military “to immediately and totally refrain from any acts of violence or threats to the civilian population, civil liberties, human rights, and ensure strict compliance with electoral deadlines for the restoration of Constitutional order by 1 July 2024, at the latest.”
In a televised message to the nation, Traore accused Damiba of deviating from the ideal of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR), the name of the junta that rose to power in the January 24 coup.
The military leader also said Damiba had failed to address insecurity caused by Islamist terrorism.
Traore had supported the January coup, but like other officers was dissatisfied with Damiba’s inability to contain the threat of jihadist violence and a growing number of terrorist attacks in the West African country.
The new leader of the MPSR went to school in the Bondokuy department (west), where he obtained a certificate of primary education.
He continued his studies at the Accart-Ville mixed high school in Bobo-Dioulasso (southwest) – the second largest city in Burkina Faso – where one of his former classmates told the local Radio Omega station that Traore was “quite shy and reserved” but “very smart”.
Members of the Association of Muslim Students in Burkina Faso (AEEMB) also recall a “very calm” boy.
After graduating from high school in 2006, Traore moved to the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, to continue his studies at Joseph Ki-Zerbo University.
It was in 2010 when he joined the Army and, two years later, the young lieutenant was assigned to the artillery regiment, based in Kaya, in the North-Central region.
He quickly rose through the ranks to lieutenant in 2014 and captain in 2020.
Traore has been a member of the MPSR since it came to power last January and was appointed head of the artillery regiment in March 2022.
Traore cut his teeth during the Otapuanu military operation against jihadist terrorism in 2019 in the Eastern region where he served for seven months.
The young captain continued his meteoric rise on Friday by toppling Damiba and establishing himself as Burkina Faso’s new leader. EFE