Burkina FasoThe rulers accuse France of helping the former head of state, something Paris denies
The fighters who seized power in Burkina Faso accused France of supporting Lt. Col. Damiba, who had been ousted the previous day, in preparing a counterattack. Paris denies it.
In Burkina Faso, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandoko Damiba, who came to power in January, was ousted from his post by the military on Friday evening and replaced by 34-year-old Ibrahim Drare as head of the military junta. — Old Captain. In a brief televised address, the regime announced that Lt-Colonel Damiba would “take refuge inside the French base at Kampoincin” to plan a counter-attack “to sow confusion within our defense forces and protect them”.
The French Foreign Ministry responded, “formally denying any involvement in the events taking place since yesterday in Burkina”. “Camp Paul-Henri Sandako, where our French forces are stationed, was never more welcoming to Damiba than our embassy,” continues Paris.
France is in Burkina Faso with the Saber Corps, a group that trains Burkinabe soldiers in Kampoincin, thirty kilometers from the capital Ouagadougou. As of now, Lt. Col. Tamiba’s fate and whereabouts are unknown.
Moscow’s growing influence
In their statement, signed by Ibrahim Traoré, the rulers indicate “their firm desire to go to other partners who are ready to help in the fight against terrorism.” On Friday, hours before the coup, several hundred people demonstrated in the capital demanding the departure of Paul-Henri Sandoko Damiba, but also an end to the French military presence in the Sahel and military cooperation with Russia. Moscow’s influence in many French-speaking African countries has continued to grow in recent years, and it is not uncommon to see Russian flags at such demonstrations.
After a peaceful night and morning, the situation was tense again in Ouagadougou at noon on Saturday, after gunfire and then the deployment of soldiers on the streets. Major axes of the city were blocked, especially in the district of Ouaga 2000, which houses the presidency. And helicopters were flying low over the city center, an AFP reporter said.
There is no unity in the army
According to several security sources, the coup exposes deep divisions within the military, with the elite unit of the “Cobras” deployed in the fight against the jihadists, particularly Paul-Henri Sandako slamming Damiba for not mobilizing all forces on the ground.
“These are the same young officers who were already involved in maneuvers during the first coup in January. Feeling betrayed, Tamiba was released by her foundation. Things need to refocus on the fight against jihadists,” says political analyst Drisa Drey.
The international community for its part condemned this new coup. On Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “strongly” condemned “any attempt to seize power by force of arms.” The African Union has condemned the “unconstitutional change of government” and the European Union considers it “jeopardizing months of efforts” for the change.
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