Burkina Faso's junta says it thwarted military coup attempt

Four officers have been detained, a junta spokesman said.

September 28, 2023, 2:09 PM

LONDON -- Burkina Faso's military government announced Wednesday that Burkinabe intelligence and security services foiled a coup attempt.

Burkina Faso's transitional government announced in a statement, read out on state television late Wednesday by junta spokesman Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo, that a "proven coup attempt" was foiled on Tuesday.

"The transitional government informs public opinion that a proven coup attempt was foiled on September 26, 2023 by the Burkinabe intelligence and security services," Ouedraogo said. "At present, officers and other alleged actors involved in this attempt at destabilization have been arrested and others actively sought."

The announcement comes just a year shy of the West African nation's transitional president, Captain Ibrahim Traore – the world's youngest serving president - seizing power last September in a military coup himself.

Burkina Faso's new military leader Ibrahim Traore, front, is escorted by soldiers, Oct. 2, 2022, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Vincent Bado/Reuters

Ouedraogo announced that the alleged perpetrators "harboured the dark intention of attacking the institutions of the Republic and precipitating our country in chaos."

Four plotters have been detained for questioning following the failed coup plot, and others are being "actively sought."

Burkina Faso's transitional government did not elaborate on any further details and said they are awaiting to receive "more details" on the plot from the military prosecutor.

The announcement comes following rumors of an impending mutiny over brewing discontentment within the military. On Tuesday, the rumors coup d'état led to hundreds taking to the streets of Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, in a show of support for Traoré's government.

On Monday, French-language news publication Jeune Afrique was suspended by Burkina Faso's junta following the publication of an article titled 'Tensions persist in Burkina Faso army' detailing alleged discontent brewing in Burkina Faso's barracks.

The junta accused the publication of attempts to "spread chaos" by disseminating "untruthful" information.

Burkina Faso coup leader Capt. Ibrahim Traore participates in a ceremony in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on Oct. 15, 2022.
Kilaye Bationo/AP

In a statement, Jeune Afrique said the suspension was a "new attack on press freedom", that deprives Burkinabe readers of their right to "pluralistic, verified and balanced information."

Traore thanked the Burkinabe people in a Facebook post, saying he is committed to the 'liberation' of the West African nation: "I am reassured of my determination to lead the Transition successfully despite adversity and the various manoeuvres to stop our inexorable march towards assumed sovereignty."

In February, Burkina Faso cut military ties with France following a one-month deadline for France to withdraw its troops.

Burkina Faso has suffered a series of military coups as the West African nation battles political instability throughout its history, a worsening humanitarian crisis and the growing threat posed by militant Islamist groups in West Africa's Sahel region.

Since 2020, there have been six coup d'état's in West Africa.

Humanitarian sources reported that nearly one-quarter of the country's population needed humanitarian aid, of which 1.7 million persons were IDP's with many of those in isolated or difficult-to-reach locations, given continued insecurity," said the State Department.

"The state of emergency, which stems from 2018, remained in effect in 14 provinces within seven of the country's 13 administrative regions in response to growing insecurity from extremist attacks."

Earlier this month, the military leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger signed a mutual defense pact – The Alliance of Sahel States – in a bid to assist each other, including militarily, in the event of external aggression or armed rebellion.

Following the announcement, the situation remains calm in Ouagadougou.