Ibrahim Traoré, young putschist at the head of the country of honest men

Captain Ibrahim Traoré, author of the last coup in Burkina Faso, officially became President of Burkina Faso on Wednesday 5 October pending the appointment of an interim President “National Assizes”.

“The President of the Patriotic Movement for Protection and Restoration (MPSR) exercises the functions of Head of State, Supreme Head of the National Armed Forces‘, a declaration titled ‘Fundamental Act’, which supplements the constitution of Burkina, “pending adoption of an interim charter”.

Captain Traoré overthrew on Friday October 1 Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who himself violently seized power in January 2022 by overthrowing President-elect Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. Burkina Faso has seen two coups in eight months.

The law passed on Wednesday stipulates that “Waiting for the establishment of the crossing points”, MPSR “is the guarantor of national independence, territorial integrity, stability and continuity of the state, respect for international treaties and agreements to which Burkina Faso is a party“The constitution that had been suspended on Friday has been restored and “applies unless otherwise stated” to the constitution.

Ibrahim Traoré, 34, will become the youngest head of state in the world, ahead of Chilean Gabriel Boric, 36. He partially justified his coup by blaming Lt. Col. Damiba “the continued deterioration of the security situation”. He promised “within three months” This “this should have happened in the last eight months‘, a direct criticism of its predecessor.

The new head of Burkina Faso’s junta, who hails from Bondokuy (west), studied geology in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital, before joining the army in 2010. He graduated from the Georges Namonao Military Academy, a training school for less illustrious officers than the Prytanée Militaire de Kadiogo (PMK), from which his predecessor came. A former student who studied with him says he will be the vice-major in the doctorate called “Citizenship”. Ten years of a front-line career followed: deployment in the north and center of the country hit by jihadist attacks, then in Mali in 2018 as part of the UN mission Minusma. In 2020 he was appointed captain.

Ironically, Traoré’s recent career followed in the footsteps of Lieutenant Colonel Damiba, whom he eventually overthrew. He was a member of the putschist junta Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR) that brought Damiba to power on January 24. A few weeks later, in March, President Damiba had appointed him chief of artillery for the Kaya regiment, which was the source of the dissatisfaction.

Appointed by his comrades as spokesman for the local MPSR members, he was sent to Ouagadougou several times to plead with President Damiba for a change of strategy. Ultimately out of impropriety, several of his supporters say, he marched on Ouagadougou days after another attack on Friday, this time against an army-escorted supply convoy in the north. in Gaskinde. Official report: 27 soldiers killed and 10 civilians killed.

Regular attacks by armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group have killed thousands and displaced some two million people. Much of the territory is beyond state control, particularly on the side of the borders with Mali and Niger. Traoré will face the daunting task of regaining the upper hand in the fight against jihadist groups, part al-Qaeda, part Islamic State-affiliated, that have continued to gain ground since their attacks in the “land of upright men” began in 2015 .

On October 4, 2022, Ibrahim Traoré received a delegation from the Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which had arrived a few days after the coup to assess the situation. she left “optimistic”said former Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou, member of the ECOWAS delegation and mediator for Burkina. At the end of this meeting, Captain Traoré assured that Ouagadougou would continue to honor his predecessor’s commitments to ECOWAS, in particular the organization of elections and the return of civilians to power by July 2024 at the latest.

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