Soldiers were deployed late Saturday morning in the main axes of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, shortly after a burst of gunfire heard in the city center, local media report.
This renewed tension comes the day after a coup d’etat during which soldiers removed from office the president of the transition, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who himself came to power by a putsch on January 24.
Several witnesses told media in Ouagadougou that they heard a burst of gunfire around the United Nations roundabout in the city center late in the morning.
The same sources add that soldiers have resumed their positions to block the main axes of the city and in particular the district of Ouaga 2000 which notably houses the presidency, noting that helicopters were flying over the city center at midday.
Traders, who had reopened their stores on Saturday morning when calm had returned, closed shop and rushed to leave the city center, according to media.
On Friday evening, soldiers spoke on national television to announce the dismissal of Colonel Damiba, whose fate remained unknown on Saturday morning.
The soldiers, who invoke in particular “the continuous deterioration of the security situation” in the country, have decided to suspend the Constitution and the Charter of the Transition, to dissolve the government and the Legislative Assembly of the Transition, to establish a cover – fire from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., to close the borders until further notice, to suspend all political activity and to convene “immediately the living forces of the Nation” in order to designate a “new president of Faso, civilian or military”.
In a statement, the military, led by a 34-year-old captain, Ibrahim Traoré, head of the “Cobra” anti-jihadist special forces unit in the Kaya region (north), said that Damiba’s ambitions were ” set aside from the common ideal” of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR).
Damiba’s actions “have gradually convinced us that his ambitions deviate greatly from our common ideal”, said these soldiers.
“Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba’s hazardous choices have gradually weakened our security system and the red tape that characterizes the fallen regime has worsened under the transition, thus compromising strategic operations,” they said in the statement.
The coup, the second in less than eight months in Burkina Faso, was strongly condemned by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as by the African Union AU and the European Union.
The coup “endangers the efforts undertaken for several months, in particular on the part of ECOWAS, to supervise the Transition”, said the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell in a press release.