A day after military officers seized power in Burkina Faso, residents faced uncertainty over what would happen next, as the West African nation endures its second coup in eight months. Army Captain Ibrahim Traore has assumed power. Calm precariously returned on this morning to the capital, Ouagadougou, where gunfire rang out early Friday. Shops reopened and traffic slowly resumed on roads that soldiers had been guarding a day earlier.
After a day filled with uncertainty and rumors about the fate of Burkina Faso’s military government, military officers announced on Friday evening that they had removed the country’s leader, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had taken power in January. It is a pattern that has become increasingly familiar in West and Central Africa in the past two years as Islamist insurgents wreak havoc across the arid expanses of the Sahel region, killing thousands and eroding faith in weak governments that have not found a way to beat them back. Mali, Chad, and Guinea have all seen coups since 2020, raising fears of a backslide towards military rule in a region that had made democratic progress over the past decade.
Meanwhile earlier this evening, angry protesters attacked the French Embassy in Burkina Faso’s capital Saturday after supporters of the West African nation’s new coup leader accused France of harboring the ousted interim president, a charge French official strongly denied. In Burkina Faso’s second-largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso, angry crowds also vandalized the French institute. France has denied any role in the events unfolding in its former colony and warned its citizens to stay at home amid the situation in Ouagadougou.
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