Monday (October 3rd): Damiba Ousted. 

Lt. Col Damiba
Lamine Traoré (VOA)

Name? Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba 

Westphalian identity? Burkinabé 

Age? 41

Why is he in the news? Burkina Faso’s Lt. Colonel Damiba stepped down yesterday, after military leaders two days prior declared they had removed him from power. Damiba, who ousted the former President Kabore on grounds that he was unfit to contain jihadist violence, has now been removed for the same reason. The new leader Captain Ibrahim Traore has taken command, with the same promises of security that Damiba made in January. 

Why do we care? This is the second coup in eight months. The issues stem from the fact that since 2015, Burkina Faso has become the centre of fundamentalist violence. When Damiba came to power, he made lofty promises to restore stability, but his ouster proves the depth of the crisis and a change at the top has proven ineffective. Now Damiba has resigned, his ambition to bring security to the region crushed. 

Why should you care? This takeover highlights the instability within the Burkinabé ruling party. Captain Traore was one of the supporters of the first coup, but as the novelty of Damiba’s leadership wore off, Traore was critical of the transitional leader. As Damiba’s optimism became unrealistic, rising tension gave Traore the opportunity to seize power of the party, in a move condemned by the African Union and ECOWAS. You should care 3/10. 

Who else cares? President Emmanuel Macron. As a former colony, Burkina Faso’s relationship with France has been uneasy. Many of Damiba’s critics claimed he was too reliant on French military aid in the Sahel, claiming that Russian support is the better alternative. As protesters gathered outside the French embassy on Sunday, French institutions were damaged and protesters were spotted with Russian flags.

Any further comments? With such instability in Burkinabé leadership, the country is set to be crippled even further by violence, with Damiba’s pledge to the African Union of a return to civilian rule in two years seeming increasingly unlikely.