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Burkina Faso's military officers remove leader Damiba

Army Capt. Kiswendsida Farouk Azaria Sorgho reads a statement as members of Burkina Faso's army declared late Friday on state television that the country's leader, Lt. Col. Paul Henri Damiba, had been overthrown, in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, on Sept. 30, 2022.

Burkina Faso army Captain Ibrahim Traore has ousted military leader Lt Col Paul-Henri Damiba, in what marks the second coup in the West African country this year.

According to a statement read on National TV Friday, Traore and a group of officers have deposed Damiba, dissolved the government, and suspended the constitution and transitional charter.

“In the face of the continuing deterioration of the security situation, we have repeatedly tried to refocus the transition on security issues. Damiba’s actions gradually convinced us that his ambitions were diverting away from what we set out to do. We decided this day to remove Damiba,” said the statement signed by Traore.

Traore said the officers, who helped Damiba seize power in January, had decided to remove their leader due to his inability to deal with rebel groups, including some associated with al-Qaeda and Daesh.

According to the statement, national stakeholders will be invited soon to adopt a new transitional charter and designate a new civilian or military president.

Meanwhile, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the move, stating it "reaffirms its unreserved opposition to any taking or maintaining of the power by unconstitutional means".

Earlier in January, Damiba, who came to power after overthrowing President Roch Kabore, promised to work on the security of the country. But he was unsuccessful in doing so, and violence continued as insurgents wreaked havoc, and political tensions overgrew. 

The west African country has been dealing with the violence carried out by terror groups that began in neighboring Mali in 2012 and has ever since spread to other West African countries.

The country has experienced eight successful coups since independence in 1960.

Other western African nations such as Mali, Chad, and Guinea have also seen coups since 2020, raising fears of a backslide towards military rule in a region that had made democratic progress over the past decade.

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