Protesters assault French Embassy in Burkina Faso after coup
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Indignant protesters attacked the French Embassy in Burkina Faso’s capital Saturday after supporters of the West African nation’s new coup chief accused France of harboring the ousted interim president, a cost French authorities vehemently denied.
Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba was overthrown late Friday lower than 9 months after he’d mounted a coup himself in Burkina Faso, which has been failing to successfully counter rising violence by Islamic extremists.
Feedback by a junta spokesman earlier Saturday set into movement an outburst of anger in Ouagadougou, the capital.
“Damiba has tried to retreat to the Kamboinsin French army base to arrange a counteroffensive with a purpose to sow divide amongst our protection and safety forces,” mentioned Lt. Jean Baptiste Kabre, studying an announcement on behalf of the brand new junta management.
Video on social media confirmed residents with lit torches exterior the perimeter of the French embassy and different photos confirmed a part of the compound ablaze.
In Burkina Faso’s second-largest metropolis, Bobo-Dioulasso, offended crowds additionally vandalized the French institute.
Damiba’s whereabouts remained unknown however France’s International Ministry issued a strongly worded assertion: “We formally deny involvement within the occasions unfolding in Burkina Faso. The camp the place the French forces are primarily based has by no means hosted Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba nor has our embassy.”
French International Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre later informed France-24 Saturday evening that it was a “complicated scenario” in Ouagadougou and he or she urged French residents to remain at residence.
Traore, the 34-year-old military captain who was named in cost after the Friday night coup was introduced on state tv, mentioned in interviews that he and his males didn’t search to hurt Damiba, who in contrast to different deposed leaders within the area has but to provide a resignation.
“If we wished, we might take him inside 5 minutes of combating and perhaps he can be lifeless, the president. However we don’t need this disaster,” Traore informed the Voice of America. “We don’t wish to hurt him, as a result of we don’t have any private drawback with him. We’re combating for Burkina Faso.”
He later informed Radio Omega: “Now we have no intention to convey Damiba to justice. We solely want that he would go relaxation as a result of he’s drained, and as for us we’re going to proceed to do the work.”
As uncertainty prevailed, the worldwide group broadly condemned the ouster of Damiba, who himself overthrew the nation’s democratically elected president in January.
U.S. State Division spokesman Ned Worth mentioned Saturday that the US “is deeply involved by occasions in Burkina Faso.”
“We name on these accountable to de-escalate the scenario, stop hurt to residents and troopers, and return to a constitutional order,” he mentioned.
The African Union and the West African area bloc often called ECOWAS additionally sharply criticized the developments.
“ECOWAS finds this new energy seize inappropriate at a time when progress has been made,” the bloc mentioned, citing Damiba’s latest settlement to return to constitutional order by July 2024.
After taking energy in January, Damiba promised to finish the Islamic extremist violence that has pressured 2 million individuals to flee their properties in Burkina Faso. However the group of officers led by Traore mentioned Friday that Damiba had failed and was being eliminated.
The brand new junta management mentioned it will commit “all combating forces to refocus on the safety challenge and the restoration of the integrity of our territory.”
Nevertheless it stays to be seen whether or not the junta can flip across the disaster. Issues already had been mounting Saturday that the most recent political volatility would additional distract the army and permit the jihadis to strengthen their grip on the once-peaceful nation.
Nonetheless, some in Burkina Faso’s army, Damiba was seen as too cozy with former colonizer France, which maintains a army presence in Africa’s Sahel area to assist nations battle Islamic extremists. Some who assist the brand new coup chief, Traore, have referred to as on Burkina Faso’s authorities to hunt Russian assist as an alternative.
“One level of competition that has divided the MPSR (junta), the military and certainly the inhabitants for months is the selection of worldwide companions,” mentioned Constantin Gouvy, Burkina Faso researcher at Clingendael, the Netherlands Institute of Worldwide Relations.
“Damiba was leaning towards France, however we’d see the MPSR extra actively exploring various to any extent further, with Turkey or Russia for instance,” Gouvy added.
In neighboring Mali, the coup chief has invited Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group to assist with safety, a transfer than has drawn world condemnation and accusations of human rights abuses.
Mali additionally noticed a second coup 9 months after the August 2020 overthrow of its president, when the junta’s chief sidelined his civilian transition counterparts and put himself alone in cost.
Chrysogone Zougmore, president of the Burkina Faso Motion for Human Rights, referred to as the most recent overthrow “very regrettable,” saying the political instability wouldn’t assist in the battle towards Islamic extremist violence.
“How can we hope to unite individuals and the military if the latter is characterised by such severe divisions?” Zougmore mentioned.
Mednick reported from Barcelona. Related Press writers Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.