Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba overthrows President Kabore in the 2022 Burkina Faso coup
Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba overthrows President Kabore in the 2022 Burkina Faso coup

Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, is the 41 years old Lieutenant Colonel in the Burkinabe army that led the 2022 coup d’etat in Burkina Faso against the democratically elected President, RMC Kabore.

Often times when a coup is announced, it is the end of an era for usually a democratically-elected president but the start of an era for a soldier.

In the case of Burkina Faso, the end for Christian Roch March Kabore, who was in his second term as President of Burkina Faso, out Kabore, in Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.

Until his ‘rise’ to the position of the coup leader, Damiba’s last held post as a Lieutenant Colonel of the army was head of security for the capital, Ouagadougou (the country’s third security region).

He had only been handed that post in December 2021 by outgone President Kabore in a move analysts said was to retain the support of the military at the time.

From Ouagadougou security chief, Damiba was announced on Monday evening as leader of the junta known as “Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration, or MPSR.”

Reuters cited Publisher Trois Colonnes as saying: Damiba studied at a military academy in Paris and received a master’s degree in criminal sciences from the city’s Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.

It is not the first time his name is mentioned in coup circles. He was a witness in the botched coup of 2015, appearing in court three years ago to testify against the accused at the time.

He is the author of a book published in June 2021 titled “West African Armies and Terrorism: Uncertain Responses?” which according to reviewers, analyses “the particularities of West African terrorism.”

Damiba was on state TV when a spokesman, Kader Quedraogo announced that the government had been dissolved and the Constitution suspended.

He said the junta would soon announce when and how the country would return to democracy.

Immediate measures put in place include the closure of borders and a night curfew, he said.

President Kabore who was last heard via a tweet was detained on Monday morning and driven to a military camp in the capital where he is still being held.

About the Burkinabe coup

The Burkinabe coup started on Sunday, January 23 when mutinous soldiers exchanged gunfire with pro-government forces. Gunshots were heard around the presidency late Sunday amid reports of a coup.

Despite a government statement denying the coup, it emerged on Monday morning that President Kabore had been arrested and taken to a military camp.

It wasn’t until late Monday that his resignation was confirmed and the army subsequently announced on national TV that they had dissolved the government and Parliament plus other Constitutional institutions.

Their takeover is believed to be hinged on the rising spate of insecurity across the country with an uptick of terrorist violence over the last few years. The President had taken over the role of Defense Minister sometime last year.


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