(Bloomberg) -- Burkina Faso’s ruling junta replaced its leader in a counter-coup and nullified a transition plan which sought to restore democratic order in the West African nation in mid-2024.
The junta known as the Patriotic Movement for Salvation and Restoration will hold on to power in the West African nation after replacing Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba over his inability to stem jihadist violence. Ibrahim Traore, a military captain, was named as the new president in a statement read on the state broadcaster, Radio Television du Burkina.
“We have lost faith in” Damiba, a junta spokesman said on the broadcast late Friday. “Instead of retaking territory, we have lost ground to the armed terrorist groups,” he said.
Damiba, who himself took power in a January coup, faced growing discontent over spreading jihadist violence and a recent crackdown on civic freedoms, including restricting protests. The announcement comes after gunfire and heavy explosions were heard near the presidential palace and key army bases earlier in the day.
The junta announced Friday it was closing all borders, suspending the constitution, and dissolving the cabinet and parliament. It also invalidated a democratic transition plan, which the Economic Community of West African States had demanded after the January coup. The 15-nation bloc has sought to mediate a succession of putsches in the last couple of years.
The Ecowas bloc temporarily imposed strict economic and trade sanctions on Mali, but took a softer stance in Burkina Faso and Guinea after soldiers ousted democratically elected leaders there. Within the region, the presidents of Niger and Guinea-Bissau survived recent attempts to overthrow their governments.
Burkina Faso is Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer, where companies including Endeavour Mining Plc and Iamgold Corp. own mines. Production of the metal plunged in the first half of this year as militants stepped up attacks on gold operations.
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