Status: 10.02.2022 10:47 am
In Burkina Faso, protesters attacked the French embassy. The new ruler had already accused France of harboring the deposed president. France denied this.
After the coup in Burkina Faso, angry protesters attacked the French embassy in the capital, Ouagadougou. Video footage on social media showed residents holding torches in front of the building. Other images showed parts of the house on fire.
A small group of people took to the streets near the French base in the capital, the dpa news agency reported. They asked French soldiers to leave the country and pledged their support to the coup leader Ibrahima Traoré. Russian flags can also be seen here and there. Calls for a demonstration of solidarity with Traoré were shared on social media, with the subtitle “Against Damiba and France”.
In Burkina Faso’s second largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso, the French institute was vandalized by an angry mob. The new ruler, Captain Traoré, had already accused France of harboring the deposed president Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.
France rejects participation
The French Foreign Ministry has firmly rejected the accusation. “We deny being involved in the events in Burkina Faso,” the ministry said. The French embassy in the West African country also rejected any involvement in the events. The ousted president, Lieutenant Colonel Damiba, is not at the diplomatic mission or at a French military base, the embassy said.
French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre told France-24 that the situation in Ouagadougou was unclear. She urged the city’s French citizens to stay at home.
“Any attack on our diplomatic facilities is unacceptable. We appeal to all involved to ensure their security in accordance with international agreements,” he said on Saturday night in Paris. Crisis teams were set up at the embassy and the situation center in Paris to monitor the situation. The safety of French citizens is a priority.
Damiba’s whereabouts are unclear
Eight months after the last coup, part of the military commanded by Captain Traoré carried out another coup on Friday. Where Damiba is staying is still unclear. He appealed to the coup plotters “to come to their senses to avoid a civil war that Burkina Faso cannot use,” Damiba said, according to a statement posted on the President’s Office’s official Facebook page on Saturday night. He rejected the coup plotters’ claims that he was planning “a counteroffensive” from a French military base. This is just an attempt to “manipulate public opinion”, Damiba explained.
Traoré: ‘We don’t want this catastrophe’
Traoré said in his first interview after the coup that he and his men did not want to harm Damiba. “If we wanted to, we’d have him in five minutes and maybe he’s dead, the president. But we don’t want this catastrophe,” Traoré told Voice of America. “We fight for Burkina Faso.”
Despite the coup, Damiba has not yet submitted his resignation. After taking office in January, he vowed to end the Islamic violence that has forced two million people to flee Burkina Faso. But the group of officers led by Traoré said on Friday that Damiba had failed and was being deposed. All efforts will now focus on improving security and restoring territorial integrity.
International community condemns coup
The Burkinabe Army General Staff said negotiations were under way within the Armed Forces to defuse tensions. The international community condemned the fall of Damiba, who toppled the country’s democratically elected president in January. The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regretted the new coup d’état and called for a return to constitutional order by July 2024 at the latest, as planned. The security situation in the country of the Sahel, with around 21 million inhabitants, has deteriorated recently, which has increased pressure on the former interim government of Damiba.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres was concerned: his spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, said he was “deeply concerned” by developments in the West African country and condemned any attempt to seize power by force of arms.
Leadership uncertainty in Burkina Faso – French embassy attacks
Antje Diekhans, ARD Nairobi, 2.10.2022 11:49 am