Army deposes president in Burkina Faso

Published January 25, 2022
Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore speaks during the 75th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation at Unesco headquarters in Paris, France, November 12. — Reuters
Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore speaks during the 75th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation at Unesco headquarters in Paris, France, November 12. — Reuters

OUAGADOUGOU: Burk­ina Faso’s army said on Monday it had ousted President Roch Kabore, suspended the constitution, dissolved the government and the national assembly, and closed the country’s borders.

The announcement cited the deterioration of the security situation and what the army described as Kabore’s inability to unite the West African nation and effectively respond to challenges, which include an Islamist insurgency.

Signed by Lt Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba and read by another officer on state television, the announcement said the takeover had been carried out without violence and that those detained were at a secure location.

The statement was made in the name of a previously unheard-of entity, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration, or MPSR, its French-language acronym.

“MPSR, which includes all sections of the army, has decided to end President Kabore’s post today,” it said.

Kabore’s whereabouts were unknown, with conflicting accounts of his situation.

Army putsches have toppled governments over the past 18 months in Mali and Guinea. The military also took over in Chad last year after President Idriss Deby died fighting rebels on the battlefield in the country’s north.

Landlocked Burkina Faso, one of West Africa’s poorest despite being a gold producer, has experienced num­erous coups since independence from France in 1960.

The MPSR said it would propose a calendar for a return to constitutional order “within a reasonable time frame, after consultations with various sections of the nation”. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres “strongly condemns any attempted takeover of government by the force of arms” in Burkina Faso and calls on the coup leaders to lay down their weapons, a UN spokesman said after the army statement.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2022

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