Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba
Le lieutenant-colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, Ouagadougou le 27 janvier 2022 (cropped).jpg
Damiba in 2022
President of the Patriotic Movement
for Safeguard and Restoration
In office
24 January 2022 – 30 September 2022
DeputySidsoré Kader Ouédraogo
Succeeded byIbrahim Traore
Interim President of Burkina Faso
In office
31 January 2022 – 30 September 2022
Prime MinisterAlbert Ouédraogo
Preceded byRoch Marc Christian Kaboré
Succeeded byIbrahim Traore
Minister of National Defence and Veterans
In office
12 September 2022[1] – 30 September 2022
Prime MinisterAlbert Ouédraogo
Preceded byAimé Barthélemy Simporé
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
BornJanuary 1981 (1981-01) (age 41)
Ouagadougou,[citation needed] Upper Volta
(now Burkina Faso)
Alma materÉcole militaire
Conservatoire national
des arts et métiers
Military service
Allegiance Burkina Faso
Branch/serviceArmy of Burkina Faso
Years of service2003–present
RankLieutenant colonel
Unit
Insigne RSP.svg
RSP (until 2011)
Military career
Battles/warsIslamist insurgency
Burkinabé coups d'état:

Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba (French: [pɔl ɑ̃ʁi sɑ̃daɔɡɔ damiba]; born January 1981[2]) is a Burkinabé military officer who served as interim president of Burkina Faso from 31 January 2022 to 30 September 2022, when he was removed in a coup d'état, by his own military colleague Ibrahim Traore. Damiba had come to power just eight months earlier, on 24 January 2022, when he removed President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in a coup.[3][4]

Early life and education

Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba graduated from the École militaire in Paris. During his studies, he met with future Guinean president Mamady Doumbouya, who was also training there.[5] He holds a master's degree in criminology from the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM) in Paris and a defense expert certification in management, command and strategy.[6] From 2010 to 2020, he held training exercises in the United States.[2]

Military career

Damiba is a lieutenant colonel and commander of the third military region covering Ouagadougou, Manga, Koudougou and Fada N'gourma. He is a former member the Regiment of Presidential Security, the former presidential guard of Blaise Compaoré.[7][8] Damiba left the RSP in 2011 after an army mutiny.[9]

In 2019, Damiba testified in the trial of conspirators behind a 2015 coup in Burkina Faso that briefly deposed a transitional government, according to reports from the time in Burkinabe media.[3]

Damiba has gained popularity for his actions during the Jihadist insurgency in Burkina Faso.[10] He called in the past for the Burkinabé government to recruit mercenaries from the Russian Wagner Group against Islamist rebels. The government of Roch Marc Kaboré was strictly opposed to the proposal, on the grounds that doing so would alienate Burkina Faso from the West.[11]

In late 2021, an army of jihadists overran the base of a gendarmerie in Inata, Soum, killing 49 gendarmes and four civilians. A significant uproar rose in response to the attack, spurred on by revelations about the poor treatment of the gendarmes by the government prior to the raid, forcing numerous government officials to resign or have their ministries shuffled.[12] According to online African-American reference center BlackPast.org "It later came to light that the gendarmes at Inata had not received food rations for two weeks... [they] were forced to slaughter animals in the vicinity to stay alive."[13] Kaboré appointed Damiba, who by then was deeply moved by the events at Inata,[13] as the head of an "anti-terrorist operations" ministry that would seek security for Eastern Burkina Faso and Ouagadougou.[14]

In 2021, Damiba published a book about the fight against Islamists, West African Armies and Terrorism: Uncertain Responses?[15]

Damiba has received training through a number of United States programs. In 2010 and 2020, he participated in the Flintlock Joint Combined Exchange Training exercises including raising awareness of human rights and laws of armed conflicts.[16] In 2013, Damiba participated in the U.S. State Department funded African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance course. In 2013 and 2014, Damiba attended the Military Intelligence Basic Officer Course for Africa. In 2018 and 2019, he trained in Burkina Faso with a U.S. Defense Department Civil Military Support Element.[17]

Taking power, rule, and downfall

Further information: January 2022 Burkina Faso coup d'état and September 2022 Burkina Faso coup d'état

On 24 January 2022, Damiba led the a coup deposing and detaining President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré and Prime Minister Lassina Zerbo.[18] While people were celebrating the coup in Ouagadougou, some supporters carried Russian flags, as a sign of their call to receive help from Russia in their fight against Islamist terrorism.[19] After the announcement, the military declared that the National Assembly and the Government had been dissolved, while the Constitution had been suspended.[20] On 31 January, the military junta restored the Constitution and appointed Damiba as the interim president.[21]

With Damiba at its head, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration military junta pledged to improve security and eventually restore civilian rule. However, the military regime failed to defeat the Jihadists; instead, rebels and other non-state actors even expanded their operations and controlled 40% of the country by September 2022. Many military officers grew dissatisfied with Damiba, believing that he did not focus on the rebellion.[22][23][24] Jihadist insurgents launched several major attacks in September 2022, causing the interim president to reshuffle his cabinet. On 12 September, Damiba fired his defense minister, General Aimé Barthélemy Simporé, and assumed the position himself. He also appointed Colonel-Major Silas Keita as minister delegate in charge of national defence.[1] These changes did not satisfy the disgruntled army elements.[22][23]

On 30 September 2022, Damiba was ousted by the dissatisfied army elements headed by Captain Ibrahim Traore. This came eight months after he had taken power.[22][23][25] Sahel expert and University of Calgary scholar Abdul Zanya Salifu argued that his inability to defeat the jihadists had led to Damiba's downfall, as his promise to improve security had been the justification for him taking power in the first place.[24]

The whereabouts of Damiba after the coup remain unknown. The new junta under the leadership of Traore later accused Damiba of trying to flee towards the French military base of Camp Kamboinsin in order to mount a counter-coup. Damiba however rejected the charge and Traore later stated that he did not think France was involved. France denied any involvement in the September 2022 coup.[26][27]

Religious and community leaders announced on 2 October that Damiba had agreed to resign from his position after they mediated between him and Traore. Damiba demanded seven guarantees in return, including that his allies would be protected, a guarantee for his security and rights, and that the new junta would fulfill the promise he made to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) about restoring civilian rule in two years.[28] Traore agreed to the deal and Damiba was allowed to go into exile in Togo.[29]

Public image

The January 2022 coup was widely popular in Burkina Faso.[30][31][32] Damiba has become known for the red beret he wears during speeches,[33] believed to be an impression of Burkinabé revolutionary and founding father Thomas Sankara, whose speeches also carried similar rhetoric to Damiba's.[34] Damiba had already gained praise prior to the coup for his activities fighting jihadists.[35]

When Damiba proved unable to contain the insurgency, public support for him declined sharply. When he was overthrown in September 2022, groups in the capital gathered to express support for those who had deposed him.[24]

References

  1. ^ a b "Burkina Faso's military leader sacks defence minister amid jihadist attacks". France 24. 13 September 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Who is Burkina Faso coup leader Lt-Col Damiba?". BBC News. 26 January 2022. Archived from the original on 29 January 2022. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Fresh from promotion, Burkina Faso writer-colonel leads a coup". Reuters. 24 January 2022. Archived from the original on 25 January 2022. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Burkina Faso restores constitution, names coup leader president". Al Jazeera. 31 January 2022. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  5. ^ Legifrance (12 February 2022). "Order of February 12, 2019 granting the higher military studies certificate".((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Who is Paul-Henri Damiba, leader of the Burkina Faso coup?". Al Jazeera. 25 January 2022. Archived from the original on 25 January 2022. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  7. ^ Ogbohou, Didier (24 January 2022). "Biographie: Qui est réellement Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba". Africanolimit (in French). Archived from the original on 24 January 2022. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  8. ^ "Coup d'Etat au Burkina : qui est Paul Henri Damiba" (in French). 24 January 2022. Archived from the original on 24 January 2022. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Qui est le nouvel homme fort ?". L'Observateur Paalga (in French). Archived from the original on 28 January 2022. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Burkina Faso coup: Why soldiers have overthrown President Kaboré". BBC News. 25 January 2022. Archived from the original on 26 January 2022. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  11. ^ Obaji, Philip Jr. (25 January 2022). "African President Was Ousted Just Weeks After Refusing to Pay Russian Paramilitaries". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 28 January 2022. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Who is Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, leader of Burkina Faso's military takeover?". RFI. 25 January 2022. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Paul-Henry Sandaogo Damiba (1981– ) •". 16 May 2022. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Who is Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, leader of Burkina Faso's military takeover?". RFI. 25 January 2022. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  15. ^ "Burkina Faso coup: Why soldiers have overthrown President Kaboré". BBC News. 25 January 2022. Archived from the original on 26 January 2022. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Who is Burkina Faso coup leader Lt-Col Damiba?". BBC News. 26 January 2022. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  17. ^ Turse, Nick (26 January 2022). "Another U.S.-Trained Soldier Stages a Coup in West Africa". The Intercept. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  18. ^ "Burkina Faso army says it has deposed President Kabore". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 24 January 2022. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  19. ^ "Who is Burkina Faso coup leader Lt-Col Damiba?". BBC News. 26 January 2022. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  20. ^ "Burkina Faso military says it has seized power". BBC News. 24 January 2022. Archived from the original on 24 January 2022. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  21. ^ "Burkina Faso restores constitution, names coup leader president". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  22. ^ a b c "Burkina Faso army captain announces overthrow of military government". France24. 30 September 2022. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  23. ^ a b c Thiam Ndiaga; Anne Mimault (30 September 2022). "Burkina Faso army captain announces overthrow of military government". Reuters. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  24. ^ a b c Ruth Maclean (30 September 2022). "Gunfire Is Heard in Burkina Faso's Capital, Kindling Fears of a Coup". New York Times. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  25. ^ "Burkina Faso's military leader Damiba deposed, army captain says". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  26. ^ Sam Mednick; Arsene Kabore (1 October 2022). "Protesters attack French Embassy in Burkina Faso after coup". Associated Press. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  27. ^ "Burkina Faso junta leader Damiba agrees to resign following junior officers' coup". France24. 2 October 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  28. ^ "Burkina Faso's junta Damiba agrees to step down: Religious mediators". Agence France-Presse. Al Arabiya. 2 October 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  29. ^ Natasha Booty (3 October 2022). "Burkina Faso coup: Ousted military ruler Damiba in Togo". BBC News. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  30. ^ "Burkina Faso Junta Leader Inaugurated as Nation's President". VOA. Retrieved 15 June 2022. Damiba's had wide popular support since taking control
  31. ^ "Burkina Faso coup: Why soldiers have overthrown President Kaboré". BBC News. 25 January 2022. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  32. ^ Ndiaga, Anne Mimault And Thiam (25 January 2022). "Burkina Faso crowd celebrates West Africa's latest coup". Reuters. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  33. ^ "Fresh from promotion, Burkina Faso writer-colonel leads a coup". Reuters. 24 January 2022. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  34. ^ "Burkina Faso coup: New leader Damiba gives first speech". BBC News. 28 January 2022. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  35. ^ AfricaNews (16 February 2022). "Expectations and reactions in Burkina Faso following inaguration of junta head". Africanews. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
Political offices Preceded byRoch Marc Christian Kaboréas President of Burkina Faso President of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration January–September 2022 Succeeded byIbrahim Traore