Army revolt 'ousts' Burkina Faso coup leader Damiba
Ouagadougou, Oct 01: Ibrahim Traore, Burkina Faso's army captain, announced late Friday that he ousted junta leader Paul-Henri Damiba, who had come to power himself through a military coup.
Traore went on state television with a group of soldiers and said that the West African nation's government and constitution had been dissolved.
The statement came hours after heavy gunfire was heard around the capital, Ouagadougou, sparking fears of a mutiny by members of the military.
Shots and a large blast were also heard earlier Friday around the presidential palace and the headquarters of its military junta.
Hours before, Damiba had accused certain army units of creating a "confused situation."
A statement on the presidency's Facebook page added that discussions were ongoing to restore calm. But those appeared to have failed.
Agence France-Presse cited government spokesman Lionel Bilgo as saying that the presence of soldiers on major roads was linked to an "internal crisis in the army."
Earlier Friday, state TV had halted transmissions.
"It could be a coup d'etat .. or unrest within the army. It could also be that none of this works, that the current military government remains in power," Ulf Laessing, head of the Sahel Regional Program at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) in neighboring Mali, told DW.
"Burkina Faso is in an even deeper crisis than many thought. Outside of the country's capital and second city, Bobo Dioulasso, the [security] situation is actually almost out of control," he added.
DW gets reaction on the street
DW correspondent Charles Bako, in Ouagadougou, spoke to several residents about the fresh coup rumors.
“There was a great deal of noise early this morning and talk of a coup was everywhere. But all we want is peace here in the country," one man told him.
Another man said that the January putsch had not changed the security situation in the country.
"We hope it doesn't end in a bloodbath. May he (Damiba) quietly retire and hand over power to someone else. And I hope that the new ruler will really be a patriot," he told DW.
A third resident said he hoped that "peace will return to Burkina Faso. At least that is my wish."
Military junta took control of Burkina Faso
The military junta seized power in a coup on January 24, overthrew President Roch Kabore and dissolved the government.
At the time, Damiba had vowed to restore security after years of violence by Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda and the "Islamic State" (IS) armed group. But the attacks continue and the army is in disarray.
Last week, Damiba traveled to New York where he addressed the UN General Assembly as the country's coup leader-turned-president.
Years of violence
Thousands have died and about two million have been displaced by the fighting since 2015 when the insurgency spread into Burkina Faso.
More than 40% of the country, a former French colony, is outside government control.
Millions have fled their homes in fear of more raids by gunmen, who often descend on rural communities on motorcycles. Thousands were killed in attacks.
The West African country, one of the world's poorest, has become the epicenter of the violence that began in neighboring Mali in 2012 but has since spread across the arid expanse of the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert.