Three weeks after the overthrow of Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was on Wednesday sworn in as president of Burkina Faso.
Before the nation’s constitutional court, Damiba was admitted to oath to “preserve, respect, uphold and defend the constitution”, the nation’s laws and a “fundamental act” of key decisions approved by the military.
Kabore was elected in 2015 following a popular revolt that forced out longtime ruler Blaise Compaore. He was re-elected in 2020, but the following year faced a wave of anger over the mounting toll from an armed conflict that has spilled over from neighbouring Mali.
The combined terror attacks by ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda have killed thousands of people and forced millions from their homes across West Africa’s portion of the Sahel region.
United Nation’s figures suggest that about 15 million people in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger will need humanitarian assistance, four million more than in 2021. This is without counting the Nigerian component losses to the combined insurgency.
On January 24, Damiba, led military officers to force out Kabore amid public anger over his handling of the worsening security situation.
The Constitutional Council of Burkina Faso had, last week, formally determined that Damiba was president, head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces.
The military had announced on January 31 that Damiba would be appointed to those roles for a transitional period, and be assisted by two vice presidents.
While the military government has so far received widespread support from people across Burkina Faso, the international community has condemned the coup. ECOWAS, the West African regional body, and the African Union, AU, also condemned the coup whilst threatening sanctions.
Believed to be one of the world’s poorest countries and one of the most volatile in Africa, the landlocked Sahel state of Burkina Faso has experienced repeated coups since gaining independence from France in 1960.