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Burkinabè authorities foiled a coup attempt this week, according to the ruling junta, an incident that comes less than a year after Burkina Faso experienced a military takeover amid an ongoing jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region, the BBC reported.
Government officials alleged that a group of army officers and their supporters had attempted to launch a coup Tuesday with “the sinister intention of … plunging the country into chaos.”
So far, authorities have detained a number of suspects, including four officers, and are looking for others.
The attempted coup comes months after army officers led by Capt. Ibrahim Traore – now the country’s interim president – seized power from a previous military junta. The 2022 coup was the second in Burkina Faso that year.
Since then, Traore has moved to sever relations with France, the country’s former colonial power. He has ordered the withdrawal of French forces based in the country to help fight against the Islamist insurgency in the Sahel. He also launched mass recruitment drives to shore up the security forces.
Meanwhile, the junta leader has said that elections will take place by July 2024.
Countries in the Sahel and West Africa have been experiencing a number of coups and attempted coups in recent years even as the reach of extremists has grown in the region.
Observers said the jihadist insurgency, which originated in Mali in 2015, has added complexity to the goal of transferring power to civilians by the upcoming year.
This year, roughly 6,000 people have lost their lives in jihadist attacks, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali – all three ruled by military governments – formed a defense pact to mutually assist each other against armed uprisings or external threats such as from the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS.