The West African nation of Burkina Faso was the scene of governmental upheaval on Monday, as President Roch Kabore was overthrown by members of the military in a coup that the BBC described as “unsettling but not expected.”
According to Fox News, developments began to escalate late Sunday evening when shots were fired near Kabore’s residence, and a battle occurred at the presidential palace during the wee hours of Monday.
Reporting from Reuters revealed that soldiers took to state television on Monday to declare that a military junta had taken control of the country, detailed Kabore, suspended the national constitution, shut the borders, and dissolved the legislature.
Soliders had seized control of military barracks in the capital city of Ouagadougou on Sunday, not long after a mass public demonstration urged Kabore to step down from his post, sentiment that had continued to build over the manner in which his government has handled an Islamic insurgency.
Anti-Kabore feelings rose to a fever pitch following a Muslim militant attack in the village of Solhan in the country’s northern region over the summer in which 100 people were killed, as the BBC noted.
As Fox News noted, Kabore had been at the helm of Burkina Faso since his election in 2015, which followed the ouster of longtime President Blaise Compaore, and while he secured re-election in late 2020, mounting impatience with his failure to halt the jihadist insurgence that has gripped the country ultimately led to the current state of affairs.
The overthrow of Kabore had reportedly been in the planning stages since August, and while experts in the region’s political affairs admit that his government had indeed fallen short, and complaints were legitimate, the takeover is unlikely to result in significant change.
Michael Shurkin, former CIA analyst focused on West African affairs, was quoted by Fox News as saying, “Burkina Faso’s army is profoundly ill-equipped and unprepared for the war it’s asked to fight. It’s out of its depth. Its frustration with an equally out of its depth government is understandable. Regrettably, this [coup] is unlikely to improve anything.”
The United Nations on Tuesday implored the soldiers responsible for the mutiny to free Kabore at once, but whether they will heed that advice or continue in their attempt to push a dramatic realignment within the country’s deeply troubled borders remains to be seen.