Update: Burkina Faso Military Takes Over Power, Dissolves Parliament & Constitution

Update: Burkina Faso Military Takes Over Power, Dissolves Parliament & Constitution

By Uganda Online Media

President Yoweri Museveni has appointed Maj Tom Magambo who has been in the Internal Security Organisations(ISO) as the new police Criminal Investigations Director.

“President Museveni has promoted Private Tom Magambo to the rank of Major and appointed him Director Criminal Investigations of the Uganda Police Force,” the acting UPDF spokesperson, Lt Col Ronald Kakurungu said in a statement.

Burkina Faso’s army has announced that it took control of the country on Monday, deposing President Roch Kabore, dissolving the government and parliament, suspending the constitution, and shuttering its borders.

The coup was announced on state television by Captain Sidsore Kader Ouedraogo, who said the military had seized power in response to the “ongoing degradation of the security situation” in the country and the “incapacity of the government” to unite the population.

Sitting alongside him dressed in military fatigues and a red beret was Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, a senior military officer who was introduced to the people of Burkina Faso as their new leader.

President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, 64, had been leading Burkina Faso, a poor, landlocked country in Western Africa, since 2015. But he faced growing criticism from civilians and the military alike over his government’s inability to beat back the Islamist insurgents creating havoc in this nation of 21 million people.

Burkina Faso had remained largely peaceful until 2015. But that year, militant groups launched a violent campaign as part of a broader upheaval in the Sahel, the vast stretch of land just south of the Sahara.

The violence has destabilized large swaths of Burkina Faso, displacing 1.4 million people and causing 2,000 deaths just last year alone. And it led to mounting public frustration with Mr. Kaboré, who, younger people, especially, faulted for the government’s failure to stem the tide of violence.

In the past year, there has been a flurry of coups in Africa, the greatest concentration in years, with takeovers in Guinea, Sudan, Chad, and Mali.

There was no mention of Mr. Kaboré’s whereabouts and no indication that he had agreed to step down. “The authorities have been captured without bloodshed and are being kept in a secure place,” the soldier said.

On Sunday, soldiers seized several military bases and the riot police clashed with civilian protesters. In the evening, shots were heard near the president’s home, lasting into the early hours of Monday, setting off hours of uncertainty amid reports that the military was pressuring the president to resign.

In the afternoon, a tweet had appeared on President Kaboré’s account that asked people to stand fast behind their tottering democracy. “Our country is going through a difficult time,” he wrote, urging mutinying soldiers to lay down their arms.

Public support for the mutiny was driven by a perception that Mr. Kaboré was incapable of beating back the Islamist groups that have been spreading mayhem for so long, said Rinaldo Depagne, an expert on Burkina Faso at the International Crisis Group.

“He’s not absolutely awful and corrupt,” Mr. Depagne said of the deposed leader. “But it’s obvious that people think, rightly or wrongly, that a man in uniform with a big gun is better able to protect them than a democratically elected president.”

Mr. Damiba blamed the president for his own downfall, saying he failed to unite people against the rising tide of Islamist violence.

“The country has been fractured,” he said. “Instead of uniting people, Roch divided them, which allowed the jihadists to attack us. It’s his fault.”

Blame has also fallen squarely on the former colonial power, France, which has deployed troops to the Sahel region, including Burkina Faso, in an effort to counter Islamist attacks, although the situation continues to deteriorate.

Two months ago, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was put in command of one of three military regions in Burkina Faso, a promotion that gave him considerable power.

On Monday, Mr. Damiba sat stony-faced on state television as a young officer next to him announced that the military was seizing power and ousting the president. The statement he read was signed by Colonel Namibia.

Colonel Damiba was trained at the Military School of Paris, and last year published a book titled “West African Armies and Terrorism: Uncertain Responses?” A blurb posted online says that he has “endured the harsh reality” and “experienced the evolution of armed violent extremism.”

He was a member of the elite force that once guarded President Blaise Compaoré, who ruled for 27 years. That force, the Presidential Security Regiment (known as the R.S.P. by its French initials), was one of the pillars of Mr. Compaoré’s regime, but was disbanded after his fall in 2014.

The officer was one of many presidential guard members integrated into the regular army, and his star kept rising until his promotion last November.

According to Paul Koalaga, the director of the Institute for Strategy and International Relations in the country’s capital, Ouagadougou, Colonel Damiba’s loyalties may still lie with the former president, Mr. Compaoré, and his allies.

Among those allies is Gen. Gilbert Diendéré, who in 2015 led a failed coup against a transitional government. Gen. Diendéré is currently on trial in connection with the death of Thomas Sankara, Mr. Compaoré’s predecessor.

“Whoever was in the R.S.P. must have connections with the old regime, but also with Gilbert Diendéré,” Mr. Koalaga said.

With the fate of his presidency in doubt, Burkina Faso’s leader took to Twitter on Monday to urge his people to stand fast behind democracy, but as it became clear that the military was taking control, public outrage appeared in short supply.

Hours before the coup was formally announced, it appeared to be a foregone conclusion and some residents of the capital, unhappy with the daily turmoil of life under President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, welcomed it openly.

Some took to the streets to demand his ouster, clashing with the riot police. As soldiers stood guard outside the state-owned broadcaster, young men on motorbikes streamed past, honking their horns and cheering.

Young people, in particular, had lost faith in the president as unceasing attacks by Islamist militants killed thousands and displaced more than a million of their fellow citizens.

The military leader who now appears to be in control pointed to that after the coup was announced on Monday.

More gunfire erupted around the president’s residence in the capital before dawn Monday, and soldiers spilled from their military bases and seized control of the state broadcaster.

Businesses shuttered in the capital, Ouagadougou, as residents anticipated the inevitable announcement on television by men in uniforms who will most likely declare themselves as the new rulers.

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