Adama Congo is the president of the Patriotic Youth of Burkina Faso.
Briefly give our readers the context of the situation in Burkina Faso. What provoked the overthrow of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré on January 24th, 2022?
The socio-political-security context of Burkina Faso is essentially marked by the jihadist security crisis and a humanitarian crisis without precedent. Our country has lost at least 1/3 of its territory, with 1.5 million people displaced internally, 4 million Burkinabé in nutritional insecurity, and roughly 2 million of our compatriots in humanitarian distress.
On January 24th, President Kaboré was overthrown in view of the degradation of the security situation, a lack of a solution to poor governance, and corruption in the administration and in the army.
Describe the events of September 30th, 2022. What was the situation in Ouagadougou?
On the 30th of September 2022, a group of junior officers led by Captain Ibrahim Traore undertook to rectify the transition of the Mouvement Pour la Sauvegarde et la Restauration (MPSR) led by Lieutenant-colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, head of state since the coup d’État of January 24th, 2022.
On the 1st and 2nd of October 2022, following the events of 30th September, the sovereign people of Burkina Faso took their fate into their own hands through a popular insurrectionary uprising which has avoided a bloodbath between brothers in arms in our country and succeeded in ending the illegitimate transition regime of January 24th 2022 of Lieutenant-colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba.
What were the complaints against Paul-Henri Sandogo Damiba? What are the policies of the new government? Did the people agree?
[The new government] reproached the transition of Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba for not being based on popular legitimacy and sovereignty. The management of the transition by Damiba was progressively walking away from the profound aspirations of our people. The country is found in a deep political-security impasse menacing the survival of our country. The regime of Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba was registered in an authoritarian drift with the restriction of collective and individual liberties; the armed militias called “death squads” attacked all the dissenting voices. The constitutional rights of citizens were not guaranteed. The new authorities have not yet laid out their program of governance, but in their declaration of taking power read on national television, the new authorities have affirmed their wish to diversify partnerships in the counter-terrorist struggle.
Part of the people calls for a diversification of partnerships to put an end to the desired exclusivity of certain partners of Burkina Faso. In any case our people call on the new authorities for a legitimate and sovereign transition that takes into account the profound aspirations of our people.
There were a number of reports on the French role in the coup. Did they intervene?
For this subject we stick to the declaration read on national television on October 1st by the new authorities, saying that Lieutenant-colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba is under the protection of French special forces based in a military camp on the northern outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou.
What is the position of the new government on Mali? ECOWAS? Russia?
Mali is a neighboring country of Burkina Faso; this is a brotherly, friendly country with whom we have relations of close collaboration.
The new authorities are committed to respecting the ongoing commitments with ECOWAS.
Russia is a historic partner of Burkina Faso since independence, as the military material used by our army always was Russian material. I don’t think that there is a relationship or a particular position with Russia outside the partnership framework that Burkina Faso has with its partners.
Describe the events of the last days, particularly the attack against the French Embassy.
When the new authorities announced on national television that Lieutenant-colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba was under French protection, this repulsed part of the demonstrators who vandalized the French diplomatic representation in Ouagadougou and the French cultural center in Bobo Dioulasso which is the second-largest city in Burkina Faso. These events are regrettable but at the same time revealing, thus inviting the French authorities to grasp all the consequences.
Thank you to Adama Congo, President of the Organization of Patriotic Youth of Burkina Faso, for this interview.