Burkina Faso president resigns on condition coup leaders guarantee his safety

Burkina Faso president Paul-Henri Damiba has resigned amid a takeover by the army, but his whereabouts remain unknown. Picture: Paul-Henri Damiba

Burkina Faso president Paul-Henri Damiba has resigned amid a takeover by the army, but his whereabouts remain unknown. Picture: Paul-Henri Damiba

Published Oct 3, 2022


Burkina Faso's self-declared military leader Captain Ibrahim Traore has accepted a conditional resignation offered by President Paul-Henri Damiba to avoid further violence after Friday's coup, religious and traditional leaders said on Sunday, according to international media reports.

After heavy gunfire was heard around the parliamentary precinct on Friday, army Captain Traore, in a statement broadcast late that day, announced the suspension of the constitution and the charter of the transition, and the dissolution of the government of transition. He also imposed a curfew from 9pm to 5am.

The soldiers who ousted Damiba said the former leader, whom they had helped to seize power in January, reneged on a plan to seek other partners.

The conditions of Damiba's resignation include a guarantee of his safety and the security of soldiers who backed him, and the honouring of promises made to the West Africa regional bloc to return to constitutional rule by July 2024.

Meanwhile, Traore said on Sunday that the situation was under control, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We would like to inform the population that the situation is under control and that things are gradually returning to order," said Traore on public television station RTB.

He urged Burkinabes to go about their business as usual and to refrain from acts of violence and vandalism, especially against the French embassy and the French military base which had reportedly hosted Damiba, who was allegedly planning a counter-offensive. France denied that the base had hosted Damiba after his ousting on Friday.

Taking to Facebook on Saturday, the ousted president posted:

“People of Burkina Faso, the tragic events that our country is experiencing right now are the source of the dissemination of false information, deliberately orchestrated and distilled in order to manipulate the population by instrumentalising them … (for) foreign causes and to the detriment of the nation's higher interest. I formally deny having taken refuge at the French base in Kamboincé. It's just an opinion manipulation intoxication.

“I call on Captain Traoré and company to come to their senses to avoid a fratricidal war that Burkina Faso does not need in this context.

“Finally, I invite the civilian population to remain calm at home.”

January Coup

Damiba himself led a coup earlier this year against a civilian government that had lost support over rising violence by Islamist extremists.

Damiba's failure to stop the militant groups had led to anger in the ranks of the armed forces in the former French protectorate.

Divisions have also emerged within the army over whether to seek help from other international partners to combat the militants, reports Reuters.