In January, Paul-Henri Damiba led a military coup that ousted Burkina Faso President Roch Kabore, citing widespread discontent at Kabore's inability to quell relentless attacks by Islamic groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State that have killed thousands. Now, it appears Damiba, who took over as the West Africa nation's interim leader after the coup, has met the same fate as his predecessor. In a scene eerily reminiscent from the one earlier this year, army Capt. Ibrahim Traore showed up Friday night on state TV with armed soldiers at his side, declaring that the country's borders had been shut down, a curfew instituted, the government dissolved, and the constitution "suspended," per Reuters.
"Damiba's actions gradually convinced us that his ambitions were diverting away from what we set out to do," a Traore statement noted. "We decided this day to remove Damiba." The BBC notes that earlier on Friday, when gunfire and explosions had started to rock the capital of Ouagadougou, Damiba had urged the public to stay calm, insisting there were "negotiations underway to bring back calm and serenity." By the afternoon, demonstrators had started to take to the streets to demand his removal. It's not clear where he is now.
The AP reports that "lingering tensions" remained on Saturday morning, with roads closed off in the capital and gunshots continuing to ring out. An EU internal security analysis noted "abnormal military movement" in Ouagadougou. The Economic Community of West African States, West Africa's political bloc, decried the development. "ECOWAS reaffirms its unreserved opposition to any taking or maintaining of the power by unconstitutional means," the group said in a statement, per Reuters. The BBC notes Burkina Faso has seen eight successful coups since it gained independence in 1960. (Read more Burkina Faso stories.)