Ibrahim Traore took over as the new leader of Burkina Faso, the west African
country with a penchant for coups. Traore will replace Paul-Henri Damiba. In a
statement read on Burkina Faso’s state television on Friday, Captain Ibrahim
Traore said a group of officers had decided to remove Damiba to deal with the
worsening Islamist insurgency. Traore further announced that borders will be
closed and all civil society activities suspended.

statement read out by soldiers went: “In the face of the continuing
deterioration of the security situation, we have repeatedly tried to refocus
the transition on security issues.” The soldiers in control of Burkina Faso
promised the world that the people of the nation will be able to go about
business as usual and the military government will respect their commitments to
the people.

Who is
Captain Ibrahim Traore?

There is
little publicly available information about Captain Traore. Traore was among
those senior military officials who supported Damiba’s coup in January and
enabled the coming of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration
military junta to come into power.

complaint with Damiba was that despite repeated entreaties on his part to focus
on the problem of Islamic extremism, Damiba was failing in a situation that was
extremely politically volatile, news reports surfacing from Burkina Faso say.

response to Traore’s coup

with the Damiba regime was widespread, according to a Guardian report.
Therefore, when Traore took over power on Friday there wasn’t a great deal of
resistance noted. There were people out on the streets of Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou
showing support for the country’s leaders.

“We are demonstrating
to support this coup, confirmed or not,” said Francois Beogo, a political
activist associated with Movement for the Re-founding of Burkina Faso.

there were also those who wondered if new political instability will weaken the
struggle against Islamist extremism. Chrysogone Zougmore, president of Burkina
Faso Movement for Human Rights, told Guardian that Friday’s developments were “very
regrettable” and added that instability would not aid the fight against
extremist violence.

“How can we
hope to unite people and the army if the latter is characterised by such
serious divisions. It is time for these reactionary and political military
factions to stop leading Burkina Faso adrift,” Zougmore said.