Ibrahim Traoré, young coup leader at the head of the country of honest men

Captain Ibrahim Traoré, perpetrator of the latest coup in Burkina Faso, officially assumed the presidency of Burkina Faso on Wednesday, October 5, pending the appointment of a transitional president by “National Aces”.

“The President of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR) exercises the functions of Head of State, Supreme Head of the National Armed Forces“, indicates a declaration entitled “Basic Law” that complements the Constitution of Burkina Faso, “pending the adoption of a transition letter”.

Captain Traoré ousted Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba on Friday, October 1, who came to power by force in January 2022 by overthrowing President-elect Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. Burkina Faso has experienced two coups in eight months.

The law adopted on Wednesday specifies that in “pending the establishment of the transitional bodies”, MPSR “is the guarantor of national independence, territorial integrity, permanence and continuity of the State, respect for international treaties and agreements to which Burkina Faso is a party“.The Constitution, which had been suspended on Friday, was restored and “will apply unless otherwise provided” to the Basic Law.

Ibrahim Traoré, 34, becomes the youngest head of state in the world, ahead of Chilean Gabriel Boric, 36. He partially justified his coup by blaming Lieutenant Colonel Damiba “the continued deterioration of the security situation”. promised to do “within three months” East “what should have been done in the last eight months“, a direct criticism of its predecessor.

A native of Bondokuy (west), the new head of the Burkinabe junta studied geology in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital, before joining the army in 2010. He graduated from the Georges Namonao Military Academy, a less glorious officer training school than the military Prytanée of Kadiogo (PMK) from which his predecessor came. He will become deputy mayor of the promotion called “Citizenship,” says a former student who studied with him. Ten years of career on the front followed: he was deployed in the north and center of the country hit by jihadist attacks, then in Mali in 2018 within the United Nations mission, Minusma. He was named captain in 2020.

Ironically, Traoré’s recent career followed in the footsteps of Lieutenant Colonel Damiba, whom he eventually overthrew. He was a member of the coup junta, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR), which 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, hence the discontent.

Appointed by his comrades as spokesperson for MPSR members on the ground, he was sent several times to Ouagadougou to advocate a change of strategy with President Damiba. Ultimately, it was because he was not listened to, several of his supporters say, that he marched on Ouagadougou on Friday, just days after another attack, this time on an army-escorted supply convoy in the north. in Gaskinde. Official report: 27 soldiers killed and 10 civilians killed.

Regular attacks by armed groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group have killed thousands and displaced some two million people. Most of the territory escapes state control, particularly on the borders with Mali and Niger. Traoré will have the enormous task of regaining dominance in the fight against the jihadist groups, some affiliated with Al-Qaeda and others with the Islamic State, who have not stopped gaining ground since they began their attacks in the “country of righteous men” in 2015. .

Ibrahim Traoré received on October 4, 2022 a delegation from the Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who came to assess the situation a few days after the coup. She left “confident”, according to former President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou, a member of the ECOWAS delegation and mediator from Burkina Faso. At the end of this meeting, Captain Traoré assured that Ouagadougou will continue to respect the commitments made by his predecessor 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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