Military Coup Disposes President

Jan 26, 2022

On 24 January 2022, army officials announced that President Roch Kaboré has been deposed in a military coup and Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba — president of the newly formed Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR) — has assumed leadership of the country. The junta has suspended the constitution and dissolved the government and national assembly. The country’s air and land borders were closed as of 2359 local time/UTC on 24 January; however, the latest reports on 25 January suggest that air borders have reopened and restrictions on land border crossings have been eased. A new nationwide nightly curfew during 2100-0500 local time/UTC is in effect. There were no reports of civilian deaths during the takeover, which initially began on the morning of 23 January with heavy gunfire reported in military barracks in the capital Ouagadougou.

Gunfire was also reported in Ouagadougou after the military’s televised announcement on 24 January, although it was later reported that the gunfire was the result of soldiers celebrating the military’s takeover of the country. Ousted President Kaboré’s whereabouts remain unknown; he is reportedly being detained at an army base and is in good health. Following the military takeover, celebrations have taken place in Ouagadougou. Approximately 1,000 people gathered at the city’s main square on 25 January to show support for the new junta regime. Participants played live music and danced; some demonstrators chanted slogans against the regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and burned a French flag. The regional blocs ECOWAS and African Union, as well as the U.N. and the French government, all have denounced the military’s seizure of power in Burkina Faso.

Analyst Comment: Mutinous soldiers ousted President Kaboré and the duly elected national assembly amid growing discontent with the administration, largely due to the government’s inability to stop violence perpetrated by militant groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State in the northern part of the country. Anti-government demonstrations calling for Kaboré’s resignation had been frequent in Ouagadougou since November 2021, following an attack at a security post in the northern town of Inata in Soum province. Members of the new military junta mostly appear to be officials who were directly engaged in combat against Islamist militants and were upset with the lack of materiel and other necessary resources. The overall security conditions in Ouagadougou remain calm at this time after two days of uncertainty in the lead-up to the military takeover. The junta regime currently seems to possess the support of the general populace in Burkina Faso and the likelihood of an active in-country opposition to the new regime in the immediate term is low.

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