Burkina Faso military ousts President Damiba

In this file photo taken on July 07, 2022 security forces drive on a vehicle near a crowd gathering awaiting the return of Blaise Compaore, former President of Burkina Faso, in front of Ouagadougou airport, 8 years after he was forced into exile in Ivory Coast in 2014. - Shots were heard early Friday around Burkina Faso's presidential palace and the headquarters of its military junta, which seized power in a coup last January, witnesses told AFP. Several main roads in the capital Ouagadougou were blocked by troops and state television was cut, broadcasting a blank screen saying: "no video signal". (Photo by Olympia DE MAISMONT / AFP)
Burkina Faso soldiers are seen deployed in Ouagadougou on September 30, 2022. /AFP

Burkina Faso Army Captain Ibrahim Traore announced Friday evening that the country’s president, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, was evicted.

Heading a group of military officers, Traore declared in a broadcast statement the suspension of the constitution and of the charter of the transition, the dissolution of the government of transition, and a curfew from 9 p.m to 5 a.m.

He also announced the closure of the country’s borders until further notice and the suspension of activities of political parties as well as civil society organizations.

Traore said he would convene all forces of the country to elaborate a new charter and to appoint a military or civilian president for Burkina Faso.

Gunshots were heard in Ouagadougou Friday morning, and access to the presidential palace, the public television, and certain strategic points in the city were blocked by soldiers. Shortly afterward, the Burkina Faso presidency issued a statement calling on people to remain calm and saying negotiations were underway to restore “calm and serenity.”

In a swift move, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) strongly condemned the coup, saying that it came at an “inopportune” time when progress was being made towards a return to constitutional order.

“ECOWAS reaffirms its unequivocal opposition to any seizure or maintenance of power by unconstitutional means,” the regional bloc said in a statement shared on social media.

Friday’s action was the second military takeover in eight months for the West African state. Damiba took power in a coup in January that dethroned former President Roch Kabore, also due in part to frustration over the worsening insecurity.

Burkina Faso has been struggling to contain rebel groups, including some associated with al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS).

(With input from agencies)