Burkina Faso’s junta leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba resigned from his position and fled to Togo on Sunday October 2, two days after army officers announced his ouster in a coup that sparked internal unrest and international condemnation.
Damiba’s departure was confirmed by two diplomats who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. It was not known whether Togo was his final destination.
Earlier on Sunday, religious leaders who had mediated between the factions said that Damiba had offered his resignation as long as his security and other conditions were met. A junta representative later announced on state television that their leader, Capt. Ibrahim Traore, officially has been named head of state following the Friday coup that ousted Damiba.
Their power grab marked Burkina Faso’s second military coup this year, deepening fears that the political chaos could divert attention from an Islamic insurgency whose violence has killed thousands and forced 2 million to flee their homes. It followed unrest in Ouagadougou, the capital, in which mobs on Saturday attacked the French Embassy and other French-related sites, wrongly believing that they were sheltering Damiba.
Along with agreeing not to harm or prosecute him, Damiba also asked Traore and the new junta leadership to respect the commitments already made to the West African regional bloc ECOWAS. Damiba, who came to power in a coup last January, to hold an election by 2024.
Traoré, who is 34, appears to have accepted the conditions and called for calm.