Burkina Faso strongman Lt Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was inaugurated as president on Wednesday, just over three weeks after he led a coup to overthrow elected head of state Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
In a televised ceremony, Damiba swore an oath before the country’s highest constitutional body to “preserve, respect, uphold and defend the Constitution”, national laws and a “fundamental act” of key decisions passed. by the junta.
Damiba was dressed in a camouflage uniform and red beret, and wore a sash in the colors of Burkina’s national flag.
The press, but no foreign representatives, attended the ceremony in a small room near the offices of the Constitutional Council.
On January 24, Damiba, 41, led disgruntled officers to oust Kabore after public outrage over his handling of a bloody jihadist insurgency.
Last week, the Constitutional Council formally determined that Damiba is president, head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
The move confirmed an announcement by the junta on January 31 that Damiba would be appointed to those positions for a transitional period and assisted by two vice presidents.
The junta immediately suspended the constitution when it took power on January 24, but later reversed it amid pressure from neighbors in West Africa demanding a return to civilian rule.
The military authorities have promised to restore “constitutional order” within a “reasonable time”, but the question of an election date remains uncertain.
On February 5, the junta announced that a 15-member committee will be tasked with “drawing up a draft charter and agenda, along with a proposal for the duration of the transition period”.
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world and one of the most unstable in Africa.
The landlocked Sahel state has suffered repeated coups since independence from France in 1960, battling a brutal jihadist insurgency.
More than 2,000 people have died, according to an AFP count, while the country’s emergency services say more than 1.5 million have fled their homes.