Ouagadougou, Jan 24 (EFE).- The military staged a coup in Burkina Faso, a move that started Sunday but was only confirmed on state-run television on Monday with the newly installed junta announcing the dissolution of the government and parliament.
In two statements read by a spokesman, Capt. Sidsore Kader Ouedraogo, the coupleaders announced that they had ousted President Roch Kabore, who had ruled the West African country since 2015.
In the name of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR, its French acronym), the spokesman said that the decision to depose Kabore had been made “with the sole objective of allowing our country to return to the good road and unite all its forces to fight for its territorial integrity … and its sovereignty.”
“Given the continuing degradation of the security situation that threatens the foundations of our nation, the manifest inability of the administration of Roch Marc Christian Kabore to unite Burkinesens to confront the situation efficaciously, and following the aspirations of the nation’s different social strata, the MPSR decided to assume its responsibilities before history,” he added.
The statements were signed by the president of the MPSR, apparently the country’s new strongman, Lt. Col. Paul-Neiru Sandaogo Damiba.
The coupist forces also announced the suspension of the Constitution, the closure of the country’s air and land borders and the imposition of a curfew from 9 pm until 5 am throughout the country “until further notice.”
In addition, they said that taking power was accomplished “without spilling any blood and without any type of physical violence against the detained persons, who are in a secure place (with) their dignity being respected.”
The soldiers promised “within a reasonable time, after prior consultation with the prevailing forces in the nation, (to propose) a timetable for the return to constitutional order.”
The declaration came after a day of great uncertainty and confusion with military sources confirming on Monday morning that Kabore had been arrested, while officials with the Gendarmerie said later that “he is isolated” and being protected by that military body.
Tensions were high in Burkina Faso on Sunday after gunfire was heard starting in the early morning at several military barracks in the capital and other cities around the country (specifically Ouahigouya and Kaya), incidents that were said to be the start of an alleged uprising by the military to demand improvements in the armed forces.
The country’s government denied that any coup attempt was under way but local media reported that it was a mutiny to demand improvements by the government, including more resources to fight terrorism and jihadism – both being targeted by the Burkina Faso military – and the firing of top military and intelligence officials.
Prior to the situation on Sunday, unauthorized demonstrations had been convened on Saturday by groups from civil society to express their great discontent over the lack of security resulting from jihadist violence and to demand Kabore’s resignation.
Burkina Faso, a former French colony that gained independence in 1960 but has been chronically unstable since then, has been suffering at the hands of jihadism since 2015.
The terrorist and jihadist attacks, which are attributed to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, have resulted in more than 1.5 million people being internally displaced, especially in the northern Sahel region, according to figures compiled by the government in Ouagadougou.