A new coup in Africa .. What is happening in Burkina Faso?

The Burkina Faso army’s announcement prompts the dismissal of President Roch Kabore, the suspension of the constitution, the dismissal of the government, the dissolution of Parliament and the closure of borders; Many questions are asked about the reasons behind this, and it also sheds light on the situation of a number of African countries that live in similar situations.

In light of the failure of African governments to achieve prosperity and economic development for their people, several challenges arise, including internal conflicts, the presence of several armed groups, as well as the turmoil that tempts armies to intervene.

For these and other reasons, the scope of coups is expanding in the brown continent. During 15 months, Africa witnessed about 5 coups.

violence and stretching

Since 2015, armed violence has spread to the north of Burkina Faso, crossing the borders of the state of Mali, and its foundations have been consolidated, with a clear inability by the government, or the international forces supporting it, to put an end to it.

All these circumstances made the citizens of Burkina Faso lose hope in their government in the face of the militants achieving victories over a period of 7 years; Which created a state of despair in their ranks (citizens).

Here is an idea of ​​the most important armed groups active in Burkina Faso:

  • Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wa al-Muslimin, a group linked to Al-Qaeda (JNIM).
  • The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS): With the proliferation of groups, it is difficult to follow this organization because of the rapid fragmentation and joining of the organizations in the Sahel region.

The militants have achieved numerous victories over the Burkinabe government forces and militias loyal to it and the international forces operating in the area under the title “Operation Barkhan”, which Africans mock, believing that it is working to strengthen the militants more than confronting them.

Figures indicate that the organizations killed 403 people between May and November 2021, compared to 162 people in the previous seven months.

spark protests

In November 2021, the armed organizations massacred the Burkinabe army and the militias loyal to it, killing 53 soldiers in one day.

Last December, armed organizations attacked a military barracks and killed 41 government gendarmes; Which sparked the protests against what they called “the weakness of the government forces and their repeated defeats in front of the armed movements.”

The protests erupted at first in the northern regions of the country, as they were affected more than others, and President Kabore vowed to hold the negligent officers accountable, stressing that the incident will not pass without an account, but in fact nothing has changed.

Citizens gather near army vehicles (Reuters)

The French predicament

In November 2021, citizens gathered in the city of Kaya (in the north of the country), and obstructed the passage of a French convoy and disrupted it for a whole week, until the French President intervened.

The convoy, consisting of 60 trucks and 100 French soldiers, was carrying weapons from Ivory Coast to Niger as part of Operation Barkhane, and some demonstrators carried banners reading, “Kaya says to the French army, go home.”

In the same city, a 13-year-old boy shot down a small French plane and carried him on his shoulders as a hero, and the demonstrators chanted: “We don’t need the French army, we can fight the militants ourselves.”

Revolutions and divisions

Several sources report that the coup attempts began in August 2021, but they were not successful. At the beginning of this month, 12 soldiers, including a senior officer, were arrested on suspicion of planning to destabilize state institutions.

Diplomats described what happened as a near defection in the army, and since the beginning of the protests last November, the authorities have dismissed many military officials; This prompted other parties to take advantage of this situation.

The rebels raised a number of demands, including:

  1. Replacing the head of the army and the head of intelligence.
  2. Allocate greater resources to the military campaign against the militants.
  3. Improving medical care for wounded soldiers and improving conditions for their families.
  4. The departure of the government for its inability and failure to address the militants.

Clashes and demands

On Sunday morning, coinciding with civil protests dispersed by the police in a number of locations, the most important of which is the center of the capital, and with demands here and there for President Kabore to leave and for the army to take over, clashes erupted and the protesters burned the ruling party headquarters and another government building.

Soldiers revolted in a number of military barracks in 3 cities – including the capital, Ouagadougou – angry at their government’s failure to fight the militants, as shooting began shortly before dawn, and then the situation returned to calm after hours of confrontations.

The government announced that it fully controlled the situation and that the matter was nothing more than limited, but the soldiers maintained the positions they had controlled, and at night, numbers of young people gathered around the military barracks demanding the army and urging it to seize power.

At the time, the Minister of Defense said that the disturbances were limited to the military barracks and that the government contacted the rebel soldiers to find out their demands.

Perhaps this was the last appearance of the Kabori government, after which it declared a state of emergency and a curfew between eight in the evening and five in the morning, and schools were closed for two days, and the Internet was cut off from mobile phones.

Junta in Burkina Faso confirms coup, announces closure of West African country's border​​​​​​​The army overthrew the government and dissolved the parliament (Anatolia)

The mystery dissipates

After the situation prevailed due to the lack of knowledge of the parties behind the coup, it was confirmed on Monday that the force behind the coup is the Special Forces, known as the “Cobra” forces, and the Third Region Commander, Lt. Col. Paul Henry Sandogo Damiba, who is the mastermind of the operation, participated in the operations.

Damiba has already taken over the Rapid Intervention and Security Group in the north in “Wahiquia”, and also served in the east. He is a colleague of Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Zangorana, who was arrested on charges of plotting the coup at the end of last month, and he is a graduate of the Military School in Paris.

The Special Forces announced on local television the dissolution of the government and parliament, the abolition of the constitution and the closure of borders.

The fate of President Kabore

The statement of the putschists blamed the president for the failure to unite the country in the face of challenges, and while the sources of the putschists confirm that he is in their hands without specifying his whereabouts, other sources in the country report that the president, the speaker of parliament and the prime minister are being held at the “Sangole la Mezana” base located in the capital, Ouagadougou, while questioning Other sources claim that the president was able to flee outside the country.

A man uses his mobile phone beside army soldiers after they deposed President Kabore, in OuagadougouArmy forces deployed in the streets (Reuters)

denunciations and attitudes

Following these events, a number of regional and international powers denounced the coup and called for respect for the constitution and the elected government and for the safety of the president. The Economic Community of West Africans condemned the military takeover.

She said she holds the military responsible for the safety of President Kabore, whose whereabouts are unknown, expressing solidarity with him and his government.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, also condemned the coup against the democratically elected president, and called on the army to guarantee the president’s physical safety.

Washington and the European Union demanded the immediate release of the President of Burkina Faso, respect for the constitution and the country’s civilian leaders, and urged all parties to calm down and make dialogue a way to solve problems.

People show their support for the military after Burkina Faso President Roch Kabore was detained at a military camp in OuagadougouCitizens celebrate the army’s assumption of power (Reuters)

bitter harvest

It is noteworthy that the war in Burkina Faso claimed thousands of lives and displaced 1.5 million citizens, while attempts by local community leaders to open a dialogue with militants described as “Islamic militants” failed because of the center’s rejection of the idea at its origin.

And between the failure of the government and its repeated defeats in front of the militants, and the extension of their control to reach what some estimate as one third of the area of ​​Burkina Faso, with the conviction that the external intervention plays the role of nourishing the spread of groups, their proliferation and strengthening, and not their eradication; The explosion had to happen, which many observers expected.

Will the army’s move be the beginning of resolving the militants’ breakout and expansion, or will it be the beginning of the country’s slide towards a more comprehensive war that will add to the region more turmoil and instability?

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