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Burkina Faso’s junta leader promises security, order

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO (AP) – Burkina Faso’s new military leader said he was going to bring security and order back to the conflict-ridden nation and unite the country, but warned that betrayal wouldn’t be tolerated by the new regime.

Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration Leader Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba spoke on Thursday in his first public address to the nation since seizing power from President Roch Marc Christian Kabore earlier this week.

“I warn those guided by their selfish interests that I will be uncompromising with the acts of betrayal of the aspirations of our people,” he said in an address aired on Burkina Faso’s
state broadcaster.

Damiba said the country was facing an unprecedented crisis and the junta’s priority would be to restore security by renewing the will to fight among its soldiers and by listening to people to form a path forward.

Mutinous soldiers ousted democratically elected President Kabore on Monday after months of growing frustration at his government’s inability to stem extremist violence that has spread across the country, killing thousands including security forces. Kabore has not been heard from since he was detained by the military and resigned, though the junta said he is in a safe place.

A man holds a portait of Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba who has taken the reins of the country in Ouagadougou. PHOTO: AP

Since taking over, the junta has spent the last few days trying to shore up support from religious and community leaders, security forces and unions. On Thursday it met with the labour union in the presidential palace and explained its motives for the coup, saying it would correct the previous regime’s flaws, said Moussa Diallo, the secretary general for the union who was at the meeting.

While Damiba said he had no problem with the unions, he also issued a veiled threat, ordering citizens not to speak out against the regime, said Diallo.

Damiba on Thursday also called on the international community not to turn its back on Burkina Faso.

“In these particularly difficult times for our country, Burkina Faso needs its partners more than ever. This is why I call on the international community to support our country so that it can emerge from this crisis as quickly as possible and resume its march towards development,” he said.

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