the president has resigned, according to public television

In the aftermath of what turned out to be a coup in Burkina Faso, one question remained on the evening of Monday January 24: where is President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré? Burkinabé public television RTB has published a handwritten letter signed by the Head of State in which he indicates “submit his resignation”, “in the higher interest of the nation, following the events taking place there” since Sunday.

soldiers in uniform announced earlier also on public television, having taken power, plunging into a new crisis this Sahelian country undermined by incessant jihadist attacks.

The Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR) “which brings together all the components of the defense and security forces has thus decided to put an end to the power of Mr. Marc Roch Christian Kaboré on January 24, 2022”, announced Captain Kader Ouedraogo, surrounded by about fifteen soldiers on television. The soldiers contented themselves with indicating that “the operations took place without bloodshed and without any physical violence on the arrested persons who are being held in a safe place with respect for their dignity”, without mentioning any names.

Closed borders and curfew

Monday morning, several journalists saw near the residence of the Head of State three vehicles riddled with bullets. Traces of blood were visible on one of them. Shots were heard Sunday evening near the residence of the head of state and a helicopter flew over the area with all lights extinguished, according to residents.

On Mr. Kaboré’s Twitter account, a message posted on Monday early afternoon, of which it was impossible to know whether it had been written by him directly, or under what circumstances, invited “those who have taken up arms to lay them down in the best interests of the Nation” and called to “dialogue and listening”.

As a result of this coup initiated on Sunday by mutinies in the barracks of the country, the land and air borders will be closed from midnight, the government and the National Assembly dissolved and the Constitution “suspended”.

A curfew is in place from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. throughout the territory, continued Kader Ouedraogo, reading a statement signed by the leader of the MPSR, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, commander of the 3e military region, which appears to be the country’s new strongman.

The MPSR committed on Monday “to be proposed within a reasonable time (…) a timetable for a return to a constitutional order accepted by all”. The “calls on patriots, honest Africans and all friends of Burkina Faso to support and accompany him in this decisive turning point in the history of our country”.

Scenes of joy in Ouagadougou

Before the start of the curfew, hundreds of Ouagadougou residents took to the streets of the capital to celebrate this takeover with shouts of joy and whistles. “It’s a victory, a new start for the people of Burkina Faso with the fall of an incapable regime”, Amado Zoungrana told Agence France-Presse, perched on a motorcycle with the Burkina flag in hand. “It’s a new page for the Burkinabe army which must go down in history by focusing on the essentials, namely liberating Burkina from the terrorist groups that have bereaved us enough”, added Serge Compaoré.

In power since 2015, President Kaboré, re-elected in 2020 on the promise to make the fight against jihadist his priority, was increasingly contested by a population exasperated by the violence and its powerlessness to deal with it. Soldiers mutinied in several barracks on Sunday to demand the departure of army chiefs and “adapted means” in the fight against the jihadists who have been attacking this country since 2015.

Read the article: In Burkina Faso, judges “overwhelmed” by jihadist violence by Sophie Sweet

On the international scene, since Sunday, this coup has been widely condemned, in particular by the UN, which has called on the perpetrators “to lay down arms” and to protect “physical integrity” of President Kabore.

The United States and the European Union have asked for the “immediate release” of Mr. Kaboré, France calling on its nationals to be cautious and to avoid any travel to Burkina. This putsch comes at a time when the Sahel is increasingly destabilized by jihadists who are also striking Niger and neighboring Mali, a country which has been the scene of two coups in a few months.

Several angry demonstrations have taken place in recent months in the cities of Burkina – and again until Monday – to denounce the inability of the authorities to counter the jihadist attacks which are multiplying, often prohibited and dispersed by the anti-riot police.

Burkina Faso has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of violence attributed to armed jihadist groups, affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which have killed more than 2,000 people in almost seven years and forced 1.5 million people to flee their homes.

Read also Unprecedented explosive device attack injures four French soldiers in Burkina Faso

The World with AFP

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