Burkina Faso: New Coup Commander Blames Violence On ‘Counter Offensive’

Burkina Faso: New Coup Commander Blames Violence On ‘Counter Offensive’

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Burkina Faso’s new self-declared leader Ibrahim Traore has accused the president he deposed in a military coup on Friday of plotting a counter attack, blaming him for the violence which continued on Saturday.

Traore said that ousted President Paul-Henri Damiba was responsible for the gunfire reported earlier in the day in the capital Ouagadougou. He added that Damiba has taken refuge at a French base.

“We have managed to calm the situation,” Traore said.

The French foreign ministry denied the Burkinabe coup leader’s claims of any French involvement.

Traore’s statements came in the midst of an outpouring of condemnation for the military coup, the second to take place in the West African state this year. The UN Security General Antonio Guterres urged “all actors to refrain from violence and seek dialogue.”

A group of Burkina Faso army soldiers announced late Friday that they ousted junta leader Paul-Henri Damiba, who had himself come to power through a military coup last January.

The soldiers introduced Captain Traore as the West African nation’s new strongman. They blamed Damiba for failing to put an end to the Islamist insurgency the country has been witnessing.

Damiba’s whereabouts were unknown following the military takeover.

On Saturday afternoon there were still signs of violence in the capital Ouagadougou, despite a relative calm in the early hours of the day.

Gunshots in the city center were reported. Security forces drove around in a convoy, while helicopters hovered above. Military troops blocked some of the city’s main roads, including the vicinity of the presidential palace.

Several international organizations in the African continent and beyond were wary of this second coup’s impact on the country’s already glacial return towards constitutional government.

The UN Secretary General’s statement said that “Burkina Faso needs peace, stability and unity to fight terrorist groups and criminal networks operating in parts of the country.”

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell deplored in a statement “the degradation of the security and humanitarian situation in the country.”

The African Union called for an immediate and total abstention of acts of violence or threats to civilians, civil liberties or human rights. The AU statement also urged for free and fair elections to be held by July 2024, as per the initial plan set out by the deposed Damiba.

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