By Thiam Ndiaga and Anne Mimault
OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) -Gunfire rang out throughout Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday and fireplace broke out on the French embassy as self-declared chief Ibrahim Traore accused President Paul-Henri Damiba of staging a counter-offensive after his obvious ouster a day earlier.
The standoff alerts deep division inside the military and a worrying new chapter for Burkina Faso, the place a rampant Islamist insurgency has undermined religion within the authorities and displaced virtually 2 million folks.
“I name on Captain Traore and firm to come back to their senses to keep away from a fratricidal conflict which Burkina Faso doesn’t want,” Damiba stated on Saturday in his first assertion on the disaster, posted on the official Fb (NASDAQ:) web page of the presidency.
The West African nation and former French protectorate has turn into the epicentre of violence carried out by teams linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that started in neighbouring Mali in 2012 and has unfold to different nations south of the Sahara Desert.
The Burkinabe military chief of workers known as on opposing factions to stop hostilities and proceed talks, including that the state of affairs was “an inner disaster inside the Nationwide Armed Forces”.
The U.S. State Division and the U.N. secretary-general denounced the upheaval.
“He strongly condemns any try and seize energy by the power of arms and calls on all actors to chorus from violence and search dialogue,” a spokesperson for Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres stated in a press release.
Forces loyal to Traore appeared on state tv and stated Damiba had taken refuge at a French military base from the place he was organising the counter-strike.
The French international ministry issued a press release saying the bottom had by no means hosted Damiba, who seized energy in a Jan. 24 coup. Damiba additionally denied he was on the base, saying the experiences had been a deliberate manipulation of public opinion.
However a whole bunch of people that assist Traore’s takeover gathered in entrance of the French embassy in protest on Saturday. Anti-French demonstrators additionally gathered and stoned the French Cultural Centre within the Southern city of Bobo-Dioulasso.
Within the early night, a hearth broke out on the embassy and a number of other photographs had been heard. The French international ministry stated it condemned violence in opposition to its embassy.
Earlier within the day, scattered photographs had rung out, armed helicopters circled the presidential palace and a convoy of particular forces swept by central Ouagadougou after Traore introduced on state tv the earlier night that he had seized management in what could be the second coup this 12 months.
“They led a counter-offensive this morning. A number of the particular forces had been despatched … and in addition the air base has been manipulated,” Traore advised radio station Omega on Saturday.
Damiba’s whereabouts stay unknown.
Mali, Chad, and Guinea have all seen coups since 2020, elevating fears of a backslide in direction of navy rule in a area that had made democratic progress over the previous decade.