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UPDATE - Burkina Faso in lull following coup, violent protests

UPDATE - Burkina Faso in lull following coup, violent protests
Former transitional leader releases video statement confirming his presence in Togo

CHANGES DECK, ADDS COMMENTS FROM FORMER PRESIDENT, TOGOLESE AUTHORITIES

By Aurore Bonny

DOUALA, Cameroon (AA) - Calm has prevailed in Burkina Faso since Monday morning after three tense days following a coup, witnesses told Anadolu Agency.

Several people confirmed that there was a lull across the country.

"Everything is calm in the city center. I haven't seen any soldiers on the streets since the morning. The new school year has started for everyone, and all services -- both public and private -- are operational," said Seraphin Sawadogo, a resident of the capital, Ouagadougou.

This came after three days of tensions and confusion punctuated by a conflict between leaders of the junta.

The West African country's military staged a coup Friday against their former leader Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had been in charge of the transition since a January coup.

They appointed Capt. Ibrahim Traore as their new leader, blaming his predecessor for his rapprochement with foreign forces against his country and for failing to pursue the objectives of the transition.

People supporting these sentiments had been leading demonstrations for three days demanding Damiba's departure and vandalizing French installations, which they accused of supporting him.

"The atmosphere is different this Monday. There are no demonstrations in the streets. The military are in the barracks. Most of the services have resumed, as well as schools and shops," Noufou Kindo, a local journalist, told Anadolu Agency.

Emilie Kyedrebeogo, an entrepreneur based in Ouagadougou, also opened her shop selling health products on Monday.

"Everything is fine here now. Everything is back to normal. It's as if nothing had happened. Transport and services are working, so it's fine," she said.

Safi Kaba, her employee, noted that there were no soldiers on the streets when she went to work.

"People are going about their business," she said.

Thomas Ouadraogo, a cybersecurity expert and webmaster based in the capital, made the same observation but noted that "NGO staff are teleworking until they are 100% reassured."

For him, "everything is almost back to normal."

The last two coups in the country were carried out in a context of public frustration with the insecurity linked to terrorism.

Some 4,148 educational structures were closed because of insecurity, depriving 685,935 children of their right to education, according to the country's Education Ministry.

The new military leadership aims to restore the integrity of the country. Traore, the head of the junta, is now in charge pending the appointment of a president.

He instructed the secretaries general of the ministerial departments with whom he met on Sunday to deal with urgent matters.

Damiba, the deposed leader, has not made any appearances since his overthrow. But according to religious and community mediators, he has agreed to resign under several conditions.

Togolese authorities on Monday afternoon confirmed the arrival of Damiba in Togo.

“Togo, in accordance with its tradition, remains committed to peace in the sub-region, and its actions are in line with this,” Communications Minister Akodah Ayewouadan told reporters, justifying the welcome of the Burkinabe leader.

Damiba later released a video statement broadcast by local and international media confirming his presence in Togo.

He recounted the course of the military coup, saying that two military personnel close to him lost their lives and nine were injured during the takeover.

His successor “converged on the sensitive areas of the presidency of Burkina Faso, the air base, public television and certain diplomatic areas with the stated aim of interrupting the transition,” he said.

These actions, he said, had resulted in “two deaths, nine injuries and material damage to our defensive perimeters.”

He had resigned as president of the transitional government and invited the new authorities “to remain patriotic and honest” and “to carry high the values” of the junta.

source: News Feed
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