Burkinabe coup leader says situation under control

Burkina Faso's new self-proclaimed leader captain Ibrahim Traore (center) attends a meeting in Ouagadougou on Oct 2, 2022. (PHOTO /AFP)

OUAGADOUGOU – Burkina Faso's self-declared military leader Captain Ibrahim Traore said Sunday that the situation was under control after he announced the eviction of President Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba late Friday.

"We would like to inform the population that the situation is under control and that things are gradually returning to order," said Traore on the public television RTB.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday also expressed deep concern over the situation in Burkina Faso following a coup that ousted President Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba

He urged the population to freely go about their business and to refrain from any act of violence and vandalism, especially those that target the French embassy and the French military base which reportedly had sheltered Damiba who was planning a counter-offensive. France denied that the base had hosted Damiba after his ouster on Friday.

Damiba agreed to step down on Sunday in order to avoid confrontations with serious human and material consequences, religious and community leaders said in a statement.

ALSO READ: Burkina Faso army admits killing civilians in counter-terrorist strike

Gunshots were heard in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capital on Friday morning, and access to the presidential palace, the public television, and certain strategic points in the city were blocked by soldiers. 

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on Friday condemned the latest violence in the West African country and called upon the Burkina Faso military to immediately and totally refrain from any acts of violence or threats to the civilian population, civil liberties, and human rights and ensure strict compliance with the electoral deadline for the restoration of constitutional order by July 1, 2024, at the latest.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday also expressed deep concern over the situation in Burkina Faso following a coup that ousted Damiba. The secretary-general "strongly condemns any attempt to seize power by the force of arms and calls on all actors to refrain from violence and seek dialogue," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, in a statement.

Also on Sunday, the Economic Community of West African States urged the people of Burkina Faso to settle their differences through dialogue.

In a statement, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, current chairman of the ECOWAS and president of Guinea-Bissau, also called on the Burkinabe authorities to "respect the commitment made with ECOWAS."

READ MORE: Armed attackers in Burkina Faso 'kill at least 11 govt troops'

Embalo also announced that as part of ECOWAS' commitment to peace and stability in Burkina Faso, an ECOWAS delegation will be sent to Burkina Faso.

Damiba came to power after former Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was overthrown in a coup on Jan 24. Damiba was sworn in as the new president of Burkina Faso on Feb 16.