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After Friday’s coup, Burkina Faso has a new government. France is hated, Russia is eagerly awaited

By Agnès Faivre

In the confusion of military coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, and other African countries, there is a favorable trend for Russia, writes the Moroccan Liberation outlet.

A group of soldiers carried out a coup d’état in Burkina Faso on Friday, Sept. 30.

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They announced that Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was removed from the country’s presidency.

The leader of the junta, who came to power in Burkina Faso in January, confirmed on Sunday that he was resigning.

The new leader of Burkina Faso is Captain Traoré. (Photo internet reproduction)
The new leader of Burkina Faso is Captain Traoré. (Photo internet reproduction)

The new leader of Burkina Faso is Captain Traoré.

He headed the country’s leading “patriotic” political force – the Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration (PDSV).

The military that seized power announced the government’s dissolution, the constitution’s suspension, and all political activity.

Radio France International reported that on Oct. 2, Damiba agreed to the putschists’ demand for his resignation and left for Togo.

In Ouagadougou, the situation remains uncertain. The new regime is hostile to France, and Moscow is welcome with open arms.

DOES THE COUP BOTHER YOU?

The apparent calmness of Rosina, who with confident gestures, brushes cucumbers and onions behind a metal stand at the edge of the road, contrasts with French media reports of the powerful political turmoil that has been taking place in the capital of the former Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) since Friday morning.

Does the coup bother you?

She shrugs her shoulders and smiles with an expression of obedience to fate: “What can you do!”

The wind blew this new coup for three days, the second since the beginning of the year.

A column of 4-5 armored vehicles was deployed near the large central market, and a helicopter flew over the area at low altitude … And then it became clear that the people in power had changed.

Overall, this eleventh putsch in the history of Upper Volta, known as the state of Burkina Faso in 1984, is strange.

The previous government overthrow, which took place on Jan. 24 this year, was completed in two days.

Ouagadougou. (Photo internet reproduction)
Ouagadougou. (Photo internet reproduction)

They were starting with a riot in the barracks, where the putschists infiltrated unnoticed, ending the next day at 5.30 pm with a press release read on national television.

Now the putsch is even shorter.

The new authorities are right: the fight against armed terrorist groups responsible for the deaths of 10,000 civilians and soldiers since 2015 needs to be stepped up.

HONORING RUSSIA

The coup involved the same people from the Cobra special forces unit who staged the last coup.

In recent years, they were joined by numerous angry Burkinabés dissatisfied with how France had behaved in their country, a former French colony.

The situation is quickly spiraling out of control.

There have been repeated attacks on the French Embassy in Ouagadougou and the French Institute in Bobo-Dioulasso (the country’s second city).

The new government issued formidable directives against the alleged support of French forces for the deposed President Damiba.

Everywhere there are calls for violence against “imperialism” and its bearers, the French.

It is worth noting that Russia is constantly honored here in people’s slogans at rallies and in the media.

Amid this chaos on Saturday afternoon, a pathetic communiqué of the PDSV was read on RTB.

The report suggests that the deposed president Lieutenant Colonel Damiba may be taking refuge in a French military base.

And, it seems, its goal is counter-offensive.

The new leader quotes his “determination to reach out to other partners willing to help us in our fight against terrorism.”

PRIGOZHIN WELCOMES ‘ERA OF DECOLONIZATION’

All eyes are on the Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner and the Malian scenario.

A few months after the “coup within the coup” on May 24, 2021, Russian paramilitary forces were deployed in central Mali to support the fight against terrorism.

Ouagadougou. (Photo internet reproduction)
Ouagadougou. (Photo internet reproduction)

In Burkina Faso, the day after the Jan. 24 coup, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Kremlin-close businessman behind the Wagner PMC, welcomed “a new era of decolonization.”

At the same time, Alexander Ivanov, a Russian instructor stationed in the Central African Republic (CAR), quickly offered his services to the Ouagadougou authorities.

He was relying on growing criticism of the French military presence in the Sahel and the reluctance of the Burkina Faso authorities to seek support from the forces of Operation Barkhane.

Barkhane is a counter-terrorist operation against local jihadists conducted in sub-Saharan Africa for several years that has failed, despite the involvement of the Western military.

However, on Saturday evening, the tone of the putschists towards the French partner softened.

Refusing France’s help and any support from Paris, the new ruler, Captain Traoré, said with a touch of irony during an interview for France 24: “I have the impression that the communiqué upsets you very much … But don’t worry. Today we have other partners who are ready to support us.”

“And it’s not just Russia. Although Russia plays an important role, it is not necessary to pay all attention to Russia.”

THE DENOUEMENT IS NEAR

The issue of defense partnership is an important point, given the increasingly apparent differences between the military apparatus and the PDSV.

“It may also seem like a false solution in light of Burkina Faso’s ongoing security concerns,” says Constantine Gouvy, an expert on Burkina Faso at the Dutch research institute Clingendael.

At the beginning of the negotiations [between Damiba supporters and Traoré supporters], claims were made related to the payment and benefits of specific units.

But now the question of foreign military partners, which in principle is political, has been added, and then the manipulation of people who go out on the street has been added.

“When this happens everywhere, we can’t move forward,” a confused senior officer said Saturday night.

On Sunday morning, the outcome seemed very close. But a new communiqué from the PDSV has caused more confusion.

Ouagadougou. (Photo internet reproduction)
Ouagadougou. (Photo internet reproduction)

In it, citizens were urged to calm down and wait.

Another highlight of the disagreements between the military was releasing this officer who was in a military prison for money laundering and, as many have testified, for his disagreements with Damiba.

Shortly before this announcement, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the radio and television building.

“France feeds on the blood of Africans”, “Russia or no one! France to the garbage!” the demonstrators chanted.

“Anti-French and pro-Russian sentiment is so strong that the Russians don’t need any more trolls; the train has already left,” the social movements observer sums up.

Meanwhile, in the town of Jibo, which armed terrorist groups have blocked since Feb. 17, another rally was organized, this time by mothers of families suffering from food shortages.

Several children died of starvation in the area this week.

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