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Coup Leader Accepts Burkina Faso’s President Resignation On Condition

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Coup Leader Accepts Burkina Faso’s President Resignation On Condition

Burkina Faso’s ousted coup leader Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba has resigned following Friday’s coup where he was also overthrown.

Burkina Faso’s self-declared military leader; Captain Ibrahim Traore accepted a conditional resignation offered by President Paul-Henri Damiba to avoid further violence.

Earlier 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.

Damiba left the country for Togo on Sunday two days after he was overthrown in a coup. His 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.

The new junta urged citizens not to loot or vandalize and called for an end to the unrest. 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.

In a statement broadcast on state television, junta representative; Capt. Kiswendsida Farouk Azaria Sorgho called on people to “desist from any act of violence and vandalism” especially those against the French Embassy or the French military base.

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, had recently reached an agreement to hold an election by 2024.

In a statement late Sunday, ECOWAS said it would be sending a team of mediators to Ouagadougou on Monday including former Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou.

The ECOWAS statement, signed by Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, noted that Damiba had resigned “to avoid a violent confrontation and possible bloodshed.”

Damiba came to power in January promising to secure the country from jihadi violence. However, the situation only deteriorated as jihadis imposed blockades on towns and have intensified attacks. Last week, at least 11 soldiers were killed and 50 civilians went missing after a supply convoy was attacked by gunmen in Gaskinde commune in the Sahel. The group of officers led by Traore said Friday that Damiba had failed and was being removed.

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