OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — As Islamic extremists intensified their attacks in Burkina Faso earlier this year, coup leader Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba urged the West African nation’s people to give him until September to improve things as interim president. A group of junior officers held him to just that Friday evening: calling his time up in a new coup launched on the last day of the month. Concerns already were mounting Saturday, though, that the latest political volatility would further distract the military and allow the jihadis to strengthen their grip on growing swaths of the once peaceful country. Burkina Faso’s new junta leadership announced on state television that it will effectively restart the clock on the road back to democracy, erasing much of the recent diplomacy between Burkina Faso and the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS.
Soldiers blocked main roads and gunfire was heard in the capital of Burkina Faso on Saturday, as world powers condemned the second coup this year in the deeply poor and restive West African country. On Saturday, several witnesses told AFP they heard gunfire in the centre of the capital Ouagadougou, after which troops once again blocked the main roads in the city, including around the presidency.