Who is Burkina Faso coup leader Paul-Henri Damiba?

Paul-Henri Damiba

President Kabore promoted the 41-year-old officer to commander of Burkina Faso’s third military district in December.

After intense gunfights in Ouagadougou, a lieutenant colonel assigned to handle security in Burkina Faso’s capital has emerged as the commander of a military coup that ousted President Roch Kabore.

Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, dressed in military fatigues and a red beret, was introduced as the president of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), which seized control on Monday.

“The MPSR, which encompasses all parts of the army, has decided to terminate President Kabore’s office today,” a captain to Damiba’s left remarked, reading a statement on Radiodiffusion Television du Burkina Faso in the lieutenant colonel’s name (RTB).

About Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba

He graduated from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers with a master’s degree in criminal sciences.

Advertisement ~ Scroll to continue

He released a book called West African Armies and Terrorism: Uncertain Responses? in June, in which he examined the limits of anti-terrorism efforts in the Sahel region.

From 1987 until 2011, he was a member of former President Blaise Compaore’s Regiment of Presidential Security (RPS), which was deposed in 2014 after hundreds of thousands of people came to the streets to oppose attempts to prolong his tenure.

The squad was eventually disbanded by the transitional administration, which infuriated some officers.

Damiba left the RPS in 2011 after a wave of demonstrations and a violent army mutiny, according to the publication L’Observateur.

Later, he was assigned to the northeastern town of Dori as Commander of the 11th Infantry Commando Regiment (RIC) and the northern town of Ouahigouya as Commander of the 12th RIC.

Damiba and other officers were involved in an attempted coup in 2015, which resulted in the transitional government being overthrown for a short time.

According to accounts at the time in Burkinabe media, he eventually testified in the trial of coup conspirators, revealing his interactions with several of the putschists. Damiba departed the nation following the events of 2015 to seek more military studies, according to L’Observateur, which did not disclose any other details about his stay overseas.

When he returned, he assumed command of the 30th RCAS, a regiment entrusted with assisting Burkina Faso’s counter-terrorism campaign.

On December 3, Kabore entrusted Damiba with the task of defending Ouagadougou against a religious insurgency. According to analysts, Monday’s coup began with a mutiny at a military facility that has a jail housing some of the major military personnel involved in the 2015 coup attempt.

Damiba participated in the 2022 Burkinabé coup d’état on January 24, 2022. The military overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.

The military then announced that it’s parliament, government, and constitution had been dissolved.