Burkina Faso junta chief declared president

Ouagadougou – Burkina Faso’s new military strongman, Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, has been declared president by the country’s top constitutional body after a coup last month, legal sources said on Thursday.

They said the Constitutional Council on Wednesday determined that “Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, lieutenant-colonel in the national armed forces, president of the Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration (the official name of the junta), is the president” of Burkina Faso.

Damiba is also head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces, it added.

The move confirmed an announcement by the junta on January 31 that said Damiba would be appointed to those roles for a transitional period, and would be assisted by two vice presidents.

In a statement issued later Thursday, the Constitutional Council said that Damiba’s formal swearing-in would take place on February 16 in the capital Ouagadougou.

On January 24, disgruntled officers led by Damiba forced out the country’s elected president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who had faced a wave of public anger over his handling of a bloody jihadist insurgency.

Facing pressure from Burkina Faso’s partners in West Africa, the junta last week reversed its suspension of the constitution and scrapped an overnight curfew.

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