Supporters of Burkina Faso’s new ruling junta rallied on Tuesday as France and the UN condemned the West African country’s latest coup.
Officers detained President Roch Marc Christian Kabore in the volatile state on Monday amid deepening anger at his handling of a jihadist insurgency.
Several hundred people took to the streets in the heart of the capital Ouagadougou Tuesday for a rally aimed at showcasing support for the junta.
“As far as we’re concerned, it’s not a coup,” said Julienne Traore, a 30-year-old teacher. “It’s the liberation of a country, which was being governed by people who were incompetent.”
On Monday night, a statement signed by Damiba announced the suspension of the constitution, the dissolution of the government and parliament and the closure of the country’s borders from midnight.
The MPSR will re-establish “constitutional order” within a “reasonable time,” the statement said, adding that a nationwide 9 pm to 5 am curfew would be enforced.
The city’s main market, shops and petrol stations were open, and there was no particular military presence in the centre, an AFP journalist saw.
West Africa has been rattled by three military coups in less than 18 months, beginning with Mali in August 2020 and Guinea in September 2021.
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned a “military coup” on Tuesday, while the UN’s human rights office said it “deeply deplores the military takeover of power”.
“We urge a swift return to constitutional order.”
The G5 Sahel, an anti-jihadist alliance that includes Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger as well as Burkina Faso, issued a statement saying it was “very concerned” by events and “strongly condemns this attempt to disrupt the constitutional order.”
The national TV channel RTB late Monday published on social media a handwritten letter that it said was written by Kabore, purportedly saying that he was stepping down “in the higher interests of the nation”.
The whereabouts of Prime Minister Lassina Zerbo and other senior officials are also unknown.
– Anger –
Armed Islamists began launching cross-border raids from Mali in 2015, overwhelming the country’s poorly trained and badly equipped armed forces.
Bloody attacks on the army, police and a volunteer civilian militia mounted throughout 2021, and accounts of negligence or indifference by top commanders sparked particular anger.
The following day, troops began to mutiny in numerous barracks, and Kabore was toppled on Monday.
That takeover saw the assassination of Burkina’s revered revolutionary leader, Thomas Sankara — a death whose pall remains over the nation today.