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Burkinabe citizens react to coup leader's speech

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JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors

Burkina Faso

Residents of Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou reacted on Friday to a speech given by their new military leader, Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba the night before.

Damiba addressed the nation after mutinous soldiers forced democratically elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to resign this week, announcing they are now in charge of the West African country that's under siege by Islamic extremists.

The junta said Kabore failed to stem the jihadist violence that has killed thousands during his time in power.

However, there are already new concerns that the coup could ultimately result in more attacks across Burkina Faso.

However, Young farmer Abdoul Aziz Compaore believed that "if security comes back, it is up to us (Burkinabè) to see if we are going to make an electoral calendar or not."

"That is to say, that if the elections are this year or next year, it is not a problem as long as the president does a good job, we can leave it," he explained.

Others welcomed the coup leader's promise of fighting terrorism and work to help thousands of internally displaced people go back to their homes.

"We hope that he succeeds in defeating terrorism and that everyone can return to their villages because when we see widows and orphans on the streets begging it is too sad," said hairdresser Kadi Ouedraogo.

The international community has condemned the coup, despite widespread local support.

On Friday the West African block ECOWAS, has decided to suspend Burkina Faso in the aftermath of this week's coup, making it the third nation in the regional bloc to be punished for a military takeover in only 18 months, following Mali and Guinea.

In his first address to the nation since seizing power, Damiba said Thursday he was going to bring back security and order to the conflict-ridden nation, and unite the country.

But he also warned that betrayal wouldn't be tolerated.

Damiba, leader of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR), spoke from the presidential palace.

He explained that the country was facing an unprecedented crisis and the junta's priority would be to restore security by renewing the will to fight among its soldiers and by listening to people to form a path forward.

Damiba also called on the international community not to turn its back on Burkina Faso.


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