In the latest in a series of military coups in West Africa, a group of army officers in Burkina Faso has overthrown the government of President Roch Kabore. In a televised address on Burkina Faso’s state broadcaster on Monday, the group—which has dubbed itself “the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration,” or MPSR—said that it had deposed Kabore, suspended the constitution, closed the country’s borders and dissolved the government and the legislature. The group affirmed that Kabore remains safe and in good condition.
The announcement came after two days of confusion and pandemonium in the capital, Ouagadougou, amid reports of heavy gunfire near the presidential palace and at military camps across the country. There had been conflicting accounts about Kabore’s whereabouts, with some indicating that he had been detained by the coup-plotters, while others claimed that loyal security forces had taken him to a secure location. Eventually, reports clarifying Kabore’s situation began to emerge, with local and international media reporting that he had “resigned.”
In justifying the coup, the putschists cited the country’s deteriorating security situation and what it described as an ineffective government’s inability to unite Burkina Faso and tackle challenges it faces. Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, a Western-trained officer who heads the MPSR and now effectively serves as the interim head of state, addressed the nation yesterday evening for the first time since Monday’s coup, saying in a televised broadcast that civilian democracy will be restored “when the conditions are right.”