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Burkina Faso army ousts president in West Africa's latest coup


The people of Burkina Faso woke up to military rule on Tuesday, after the army ousted President Roch Kabore, suspended the constitution, dissolved the government and national assembly, and closed the country's borders.

The army cited a deterioration of national security and Kabore's inability to unite the West African nation and effectively respond to challenges, which include an Islamist insurgency.

According to Monday’s televised military announcement, the coup was staged without violence and government officials were being detained.

The statement was made by the new junta, which calls itself the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration, or MPSR, its French-language acronym.

"MPSR, which includes all sections of the army, has decided to end President Kabore's post today," it said.

Burkina Faso army ousts president in West Africa's latest coup

Kabore's whereabouts were unknown on Monday, with conflicting accounts of his situation.

Putsches have toppled governments over the past 18 months in neighbouring West African states of Mali and Guinea. The military also took over in Chad last year after President Idriss Deby died fighting rebels in the country's north.

Landlocked Burkina Faso, one of West Africa's poorest countries despite being a gold producer, has experienced numerous coups since gaining independence from France in 1960.

The MPSR said it would propose a calendar for a return to constitutional order "within a reasonable time frame, after consultations with various sections of the nation”.

Burkina Faso army ousts president in West Africa's latest coup

The US State Department on Monday said it was aware of reports that Kabore had been detained by the military and called for his release. It added that it was "too soon" to officially characterise developments in the West African country, when asked if Washington was undertaking a coup assessment.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "strongly condemns any attempted takeover of government by the force of arms" in Burkina Faso and called on the coup leaders to lay down their weapons, a UN spokesman said after the army statement.

Burkina Faso army ousts president in West Africa's latest coup

Kabore had faced waves of protests in recent months amid frustration over killings of civilians and soldiers by militants, some of whom have links to Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

Published : January 25, 2022

By : THE NATION