Captain Ibrahim Traoré, leader of Friday’s coup d’état in Burkina Faso, has urged protesters to let the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation traveling to the capital, Ouagadougou, work as part of its commitment to peace and stability in the country.
“It is, with astonishment and regret, that the president of the MPSR (Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration) notes the circulation of messages calling to prevent the smooth running of this mission,” the Burkinabe captain specified in a statement picked up by the Burkina 24 news portal.
The delegation will be led by Suzi Carla Barbosa, Guinea Bissau’s foreign minister and president of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers. It will also include Mahamadou Issoufou, former president of Niger and ECOWAS mediator for Burkina Faso and Omar Alieu Touray, president of the ECOWAS Commission.
The visit of the mission, which was expected on Monday, comes after new anti-ECOWAS and anti-French demonstrations were recorded on the eve of the visit, which reached to collapse, around 18.00 hours (local time), around the Lancaster hotel, former hotel Ouaga 200.
The demonstrators have again carried banners with anti-French slogans and were also carrying Russian flags, an image that has been repeated since a dissident faction of the Burkinabe army forced the resignation of junta leader and the country’s transitional president, Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba on Friday.
The protests in favor of Captain Traoré have put the spotlight on Russia’s role, with demonstrators calling for greater involvement by Moscow at the expense of France, calling to mimic the country’s role in Mali.
The Russian Wagner Group has sent mercenaries to several African countries over the past few years — including Libya and Central African Republic (CAR) — raising suspicions about Moscow’s involvement in several conflicts on the continent.
Indeed, Russian businessman Yevgeni Prigozhin, considered the leader of the Wagner Group, has welcomed Captain Traoré’s mandate and signaled his “support” for the country’s new strongman, who “fights for freedom and justice” in Burkina Faso, as picked up Tuesday by Radio France Internationale (RFI).