Tumultuous year: Burkina Faso since the army seized power in January | The Citizen

The West African country of Burkina Faso has been shaken by its second military coup in eight months, with a new self-proclaimed leader taking power.

Here is a timeline of events since January:

– Clashes, army mutinies –

On January 22, 2022, clashes erupt in several cities, including the capital Ouagadougou. Demonstrators protest against the powerlessness of the authorities to crack down on jihadist violence, which has ravaged the country since 2015.

Sometimes mixed with inter-community fighting, the mounting violence has left thousands dead and around two million displaced.

On the 23rd, mutinous troops demand the “replacement” of army chiefs, “appropriate means” to fight the jihadists and “better care for the wounded”.

The government denies rumours “of a takeover by the army” and then decrees a curfew.

– Military coup –

On January 24, soldiers declare they have seized power and ousted elected civilian president Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, the new strongman, announces the closure of borders, the dissolution of the government and the suspension of the constitution.

He promises “a timetable for a return to constitutional order” within a “reasonable time”.

The takeover is greeted with jubilation in the streets of Ouagadougou.

– Condemnation –

On January 25, the United Nations, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and France condemn the putsch.

The next day, a source close to Kabore says the ousted leader is under house arrest.

The 15-nation ECOWAS suspends Burkina Faso on January 28, followed by the African Union a few days later.

ALSO READ: Troops in Burkina Faso capital amid international condemnation of new coup

On January 31 the junta restores the constitution, but modifies state institutions “pending the establishment of transitional bodies”, while giving no timetable for a return to constitutional order.

The curfew is lifted.

– International pressure –

On February 3, ECOWAS requests the regime provide a timetable for the rapid return to constitutional order.

On February 9, the new chief of staff of the army promises a “fresh impetus in the fight against terrorism”.

The UN Security Council says it is “gravely concerned about the unconstitutional change of government in Burkina Faso”, without referring to a coup d’etat.

– Damiba becomes president –

On February 10, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba is declared “president” by the Constitutional Council.

On March 1, the transition period is set at three years.

– New jihadist attacks –

From mid-March, suspected jihadists renew deadly attacks on the population, killing hundreds.

On a visit to Ouagadougou on June 19 as West African mediator, Niger’s former president Mahamadou Issoufou estimates that nearly half of Burkina’s territory is beyond state control.

Later that month Damiba receives ex-president Kabore to “defuse the situation”.

– Two-year transition –

West African leaders agree with the junta on a two-year transition in early July.

On the 7th, former president Blaise Compaore returns to Burkina for the first time since his overthrow in 2014. His two-day visit was prompted by Damiba, “for reconciliation”.

On August 11, Kabore is authorised to leave the country for “medical reasons”.

On the 19th, the African Union calls on the international community to support the transition. 

– Bloody September –

Early in September, Damiba welcomes a “relative calm” in a number of places — but deadly raids continue in the north, where jihadists have taken to blockading towns.

On the 5th, 35 civilians are killed, including many children, when a supply convoy is blown up by a homemade bomb. A week later, Damiba dismisses his defence minister and takes the portfolio himself.

On September 27, another attack on a supply convoy in the north, with army escort, leaves at least 11 soldiers killed, 28 people injured and about 50 civilians missing.

– New coup –

On the evening of September 30, after a day of gunfire in Ouagadougou’s presidential district, some 15 soldiers announce that Colonel Damiba has been relieved of his post in favour of 34-year-old Captain Ibrahim Traore.

The putschists announce the closing of the borders, the suspension of the constitution, a curfew, and the dissolution of the government and of the Transitional Assembly.

ECOWAS condemns “seizure of power by force”, as Brussels and Washington express their concern.

On October 2, Damiba agrees to step down, according to religious and community leaders who mediate. Diplomatic sources say he has fled to Togo.

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