Following several days during which rumours of an attempted coup d’état circulated on social media, Capt. Ibrahim Traore, the leader of the military junta that took power in Burkina Faso’s second coup of 2022 in September, claimed that a coup plot had been foiled. No one was reported to have been arrested. Capt. Traore claimed that he knew who was responsible and would engage them in dialogue.
On 30 September, Burkina Faso experienced its second coup d’état in the space of eight months. Lt Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba had taken power in a coup in January. He was removed from office in a relatively peaceful coup led by Capt Ibrahim Traore, who cited setbacks in the conflict between the Burkinabe military and Islamist insurgents as a justification for removing Lt Col Damiba. On 21 October, Capt Traore formally took office as transitional president. He is expected to remain in office until after elections that are planned for July 2024. Capt Traore has expressed interest in working with “new partners” in the country’s conflict with jihadist movements, and the leader of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group expressed his support for the coup.
In mid-August audio messages calling for violence against the Fulani ethnic minority group began to circulate on WhatsApp groups in Burkina Faso. The messages sought to use the recent jihadist violence in the country as incitement for ethnic violence. The government of Burkina Faso was quick to issue a public condemnation of the messages. This was echoed in a separate statement joined by 700 Imams.