Burkina Faso’s new strongman calls for calm after French Embassy fire

Captain Ibrahim Traoré, new leader of Burkina Faso after the counter-coup he led last Friday in the African country, has assured that the situation is “under control” and has asked for calm to the population after last night’s riots in front of the French Embassy in the capital, Ouagadougou.

“Things are gradually returning to normal,” Traoré said in a statement released by a spokesman on Burkinabe national television RTB.

The official has visited this Sunday the headquarters of the national television where, since Friday, vehicles and armored vehicles of the Army are parked.

According to Radio France Internationale witnesses, Traoré was cheered by supporters gathered en masse to show their support for the military officer.

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The capital now breathes a tense calm after the storming of the French Embassy in the center of the city. Rioters took to the streets to storm the French diplomatic headquarters as well as the French military base in Kamboinsin amid reports that the head of the former junta, Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, could be in one of these places.

Damiba has denied on Facebook that he is being held in the military facility. “I formally deny having taken refuge in the French base of Kamboinsin and I appeal to Captain Traoré and company to come to their senses to avoid a fratricidal war that Burkina Faso does not need in this context,” he said.

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Supporters of Traoré tried to approach the French Embassy again this morning, but were prevented from doing so by the Burkinabe military, according to the Burkina24 portal.

The French Embassy categorically denied on Saturday any involvement in the counter-coup against Damiba. “In view of the numerous comments on social networks, the Embassy wishes to categorically deny any involvement of the French army in the events of the last few hours,” reads the press release.

France also denies “rumors according to which the new Burkinabe authorities have been received by French military” at some point after the coup d’état or “enjoy the protection of the same.”

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