Paul-Henri Damiba, leader of the January 24 coup in Burkina Faso, has been named the new head of state of the West African country for a transitional period, Aljazeera reports.

The military government also said it has restored the constitution, a week after taking power.

The move came shortly after the African Union (AU) suspended Burkina Faso for the takeover and diplomats from West Africa and the United Nations pressed demands for a return to civilian rule.

In a statement read on television on Monday, the military government announced it had approved a “fundamental act” that “lifts the suspension of the constitution”, a move that had been declared after the January 24 coup.

According to Aljazeera, the 37-article document guarantees independence of the judiciary and presumption of innocence, as well as basic liberties spelled out in the constitution such as freedom of movement and freedom of speech, according to the statement.

Under the “fundamental act”, it said, the military government – officially named the Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration (MPSR) – “ensures the continuity of the state pending the establishment of transitional bodies”.

The statement did not give a timeline for the transition period.

It formally identified coup leader Mr Damiba, a lieutenant-colonel, as president of the MPSR.

This role also encompasses “president of Burkina Faso, head of state (and) supreme leader of the armed forces,” the statement said.

The MPSR has two vice presidents, the statement added, but it did not mention any names.

A separate decree read on television said that the armed forces chief of staff, Gilbert Ouedraogo, was leaving the job.

Additionally, the AU’s 15-member Peace and Security Council said on Twitter that it had voted “to suspend the participation of #BurkinaFaso in all AU activities until the effective restoration of constitutional order in the country”.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how ECOWAS, on Friday, suspended Burkina Faso from all its institutions following the coup.

Aljazeera also reported that ECOWAS mission headed by Ghanaian Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway arrived in Ouagadougou, where it was joined by the UN’s special representative for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Annadif Khatir Mahamat Saleh.

The discussions were “very frank”, according to Ms Botchway. “They seemed very open to the suggestions and proposals that we made. For us it’s a good sign,” she told reporters after meeting with Mr Damiba and other junta members.

The Ghanaian foreign minister added that although Burkina Faso has been suspended, ECOWAS will not severe all ties.

“We will not leave Burkina Faso on its own, we will continue to work together to fight this menace of terrorism and armed conflict,” she said.

The delegation also visited ousted President Roch Kabore, who is under house arrest, a delegate said.

Ms Botchway said she had met with Mr Kabore and that he was well and “in good spirits,”


TV Presenter/ Content Writer

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