The military in Burkina Faso has announced the ousting of junta leader Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Damiba, eight months after he seized power.
The new junta leader is Captain Ibrahim Traore, who confirmed taking over on Friday evening, in a statement aired on state broadcaster, RTB. It followed reports of gun firing around the presidential palace in the early hours of the day.
The new military leadership says it has dissolved Damiba’s government and suspended the constitution.
Burkina Faso’s borders were also ordered closed indefinitely, and all political and civil society activities temporary banned. A curfew is in effect from 9pm to 5am.
The new junta has also announced the suspension of the transition charter, setting back progress in the process of transfer to civilian rule.
Damiba had agreed to a two-year transition timeline with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Damiba came to power in January, after deposing President Christian Roch Mack Kabore, who was accused of incompetence in dealing with insecurity in the country. The new strongman also gave the same reason for deposing him.
“In the face of the continuing deterioration of the security situation, we have repeatedly tried to refocus the transition on security issues,” the statement read.
Burkina Faso has been engulfed in an Islamist induced insurgency that spilled over from neighbouring Mali, which has affected much of the Sahel region.
The United Nations has expressed concern about the situation in the West African nation, with a spokesman calling for calm.
“Burkina Faso needs peace, it needs stability, and it needs unity in order to fight terrorist groups and criminal networks operating in parts of the country,” said Stephane Dujarric.
ECOWAS is yet to comment about the new development.