Wednesday, May 18

Burkina: the military coup condemned by the international community

The military coup that overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in Burkina Faso was widely condemned by the international community on Tuesday, with West African states announcing the holding of an extraordinary summit “in the coming days”.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said “military coups were unacceptable”, calling on soldiers in West Africa to “defend their country, not attack their governments”.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has it “firmly” condemned “the military coup”, considering that the resignation of Mr. Kaboré had been “obtained under the threat, intimidation and pressure of the military after two days of mutiny”.

French President Emmanuel Macron also “condemned” this “military coup”.

“I was told that his physical integrity was not threatened,” added Mr. Macron, about Roch Kaboré, whose whereabouts were still unknown on Tuesday.

The regional organization G5 Sahel which fights against terrorism (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad), whose presidency is currently held by N’Djamena, also condemned “strongly this attempt to interrupt the constitutional order ” in Burkina Faso.

Power has been there since Monday afternoon in the hands of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR) and its strongman, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, commander of the 3rd military region which notably covers the eastern zone. , one of the most affected by jihadist attacks.

At the head of Burkina Faso since 2015, President Kaboré, re-elected in 2020 on the promise to make the anti-jihadist fight his priority, was increasingly contested by a population exasperated by jihadist violence and its powerlessness to deal with it.

On Tuesday morning, hundreds of demonstrators descended on Place de la Nation, in the heart of Ouagadougou, to support the military.

“We had asked on several occasions for the departure of President Kaboré, who did not hear this call. The army heard and understood us,” rejoiced Lassane Ouedraogo, a 43-year-old protester and civil society activist.

– “A liberation” –

“For us it’s not a coup d’etat. It’s a liberation of our country which was led by incompetents”, adds Julienne Traoré, a 30-year-old teacher.

Some demonstrators waved Malian and Russian flags, calling for cooperation with Moscow, as the military regime in Bamako has done for several months.

Apart from this demonstration, life seemed to have resumed its normal course in Ouagadougou: the large market, shops or gas stations were open, without a notable military presence, noted an AFP journalist.

The junta also announced Tuesday noon the reopening of air borders, closed since midnight. The land borders reopen only for “humanitarian” vehicles, those “carrying basic necessities” as well as “equipment intended for the defense and security forces”, specifies a press release read on national television.

The MPSR instituted a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. (local and GMT), dissolved the Assembly and suspended the Constitution, but promised “a reasonable time” for a “calendar for a return to a constitutional order accepted by all”.

Bringing peace to Burkina Faso will not be an easy task for the MPSR, as the country has sunk in recent years into an infernal spiral of jihadist violence.

The majority of its territory, in particular the east and the north, are the scene of almost daily attacks by groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

The army, often overwhelmed and targeted, is unable to stem this deadly violence which has killed more than 2,000 people and forced at least 1.5 million people to flee their homes.

It also remains to be seen what leeway this military junta will have on the international scene.

Mali and Guinea, which experienced coups last year, are suspended from West African institutions, and the Bamako regime is subject to heavy sanctions by ECOWAS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.