Burkina Faso Deposed junta leader Lt Col Paul Henri Damiba

Burkina Faso: Deposed junta leader Lt. Col. Paul Henri Damiba has accepted his resignation…

What there is to know

The head of Burkina Faso’s ruling junta, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who was deposed by Capt. Ibrahim Traoré on Friday but refused to resign, eventually agreed to step down on Sunday, October 2, resigning religious leaders and the community. “Following the mediation efforts” carried out by these leaders between the two rivals, “President Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba himself proposes his resignation to avoid clashes with serious human and material consequences,” they write in a statement. This life is over now.

The junta’s new self-proclaimed leader calls for an end to violence against France. Captain Ibrahim Traoré called for an end to acts of “violence and vandalism” against France in a statement read on national television on Sunday. The French institute in Ouagadougou, which was attacked by anti-France demonstrators on Saturday, suffered “considerable damage”, the French Foreign Ministry regretted. “It is all the more unfortunate that it was one of the most important cultural centers in the city, housing the Georges Méliès Library, which is very popular with Burkinabés,” the ministry said.

Tear gas fired in front of the French embassy. The French embassy in Ouagadougou was attacked by protesters on Sunday for the second time in two days. A few dozen protesters set fire to barricades and threw rocks at the building. According to a local journalist, tear gas grenades were fired to disperse them. They support the military perpetrators of a coup on Friday. The latter accuse France on Saturday of helping Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had been toppled by them, prepare to take power.

France already targeted on Saturday. By the end of the day, demonstrators had gathered in front of the French embassy and a fire had broken out. Another fire had been lit in front of the French Institute in Bobo-Dioulasso, the country’s second largest city. France’s Foreign Ministry condemned the violence and urged French people to “stay at home until further notice”.

Paris rejects the accusations of the putschists. The latter claimed on Saturday that the former junta chief had fled to the Kamboinsin base, where French soldiers make up the Burniabé army, and was preparing a “counter-offensive” there. The latter denied this in a press release on Facebook, without revealing his whereabouts. The Quai d’Orsay did the same, and its spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre described the protesters as “manipulated by a disinformation campaign against us”.

A coup with an uncertain outcome. Soldiers led by Captain Ibrahim Traoré announced they had seized power on Friday and ousted Colonel Damiba, who has been at the helm of the country since an earlier coup in January. But in a statement on Saturday, the army said it did not support the new coup and downplayed the events, describing them as an “internal crisis” subject to “consultation”.

The specter of the rivalry between France and Russia. Russian flags were waved by some protesters on Friday and Saturday demanding the departure of Colonel Damiba, who has been criticized for his inability to put an end to jihadi attacks in the Sahel. Without naming Russia, the coup leaders on Saturday reiterated their desire to “go to partners other than France” to fight terrorism. A speech reminiscent of that of the military junta of neighboring Mali, which called out the mercenaries of the Russian group Wagner and urged the French army to withdraw.