Coup leader Ibrahim Traore officially appointed Burkina Faso president
Captain Ibrahim Traore was appointed as president of Burkina Faso on Wednesday, according to an official statement, after the West African country’s second coup in less than nine months.
Traore has been appointed as “Head of State, Supreme Head of the Armed Forces”, according to the official statement read out on national television by spokesman Captain Kiswendsida Farouk Azaria Sorgho.
The impoverished Sahel nation plunged into turmoil at the weekend when Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba — who had seized power in January — was toppled by newly emerged rival Traore who headed a faction of disgruntled junior officers.
Burkina is struggling with a seven-year-old jihadist campaign that has claimed thousands of lives, forced nearly two million people to flee their homes and left more than a third of the country outside government control.
Damiba fled to Togo following the two-day standoff, which was defused by religious and community leaders.
Delegates from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS wrapped up a fact-finding mission Tuesday and held meetings with religious and traditional leaders and Traore.
Speculation has risen that Burkina’s new leader may follow other fragile regimes in French-speaking Africa and forge close ties with Moscow at the expense of France, the region’s former colonial power and traditional ally.
The dramatic takeover coincided with violent anti-French protests and the sudden emergence of Russian flags among demonstrators.
The United States has warned the junta of the risks of allying with Russia, saying they condemned “any attempt to exacerbate the current situation in Burkina Faso”.
Traore has previously said he would stand by a pledge that Damiba gave ECOWAS for restoring civilian rule by July 2024.