Ibrahim Traore declared President of Burkina Faso

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Captain Ibrahim Traore has been appointed as president of Burkina Faso after Paul-Henri Damiba was removed in the West African country’s second coup in less than nine months.

The Sahel country plunged into political turmoil on September 30 after a group of officers decided to remove Damiba due to his inability to deal with a worsening armed uprising, dissolved the transitional government and suspended the constitution.

According to an official statement read out on national television by a spokesman for the military government, Captain Kiswendsida Farouk Azaria Sorgho, Traore has been appointed as Head of State and Supreme Head of the Armed Forces.

The statement read that Traore would now be the “guarantor of national independence, territorial integrity… and continuity of the State”.

On Sunday, Damiba agreed to step down after army officers announced his deposition. He fled to Togo.

Meanwhile, in January this year, Damiba together with the armed forces had launched a coup against President Roch Kabore and appointed himself transitional head of state.

He vowed to make security the country’s top priority.

Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been battling an escalating wave of violence attributed to rebel fighters allied to both al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) armed group, claiming hundreds of lives and displacing two million.

Traore has previously said he would stand by a pledge that Damiba gave ECOWAS for restoring civilian rule by July 2024.

On Saturday, the African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned the “unconstitutional change of government” and called on the military to “refrain from any acts of violence or threats to the civilian population, civil liberties, human rights”.

He also called for the restoration of the constitutional order by July next year “at the latest”.