Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba was sworn in on Wednesday as Burkina Faso’s new head of state. He’s also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
We take a look at his background as he assumes the top seat marking a new dawn for the people of Burkina Faso.
Damiba’s background is similar to that of many of Burkina Faso’s military elite.
He received military training from the U.S and studied in France at a military academy and a prestigious institution where he earned a Master’s in criminal sciences and served in the presidential guard of the now-exiled Blaise Compaoré, who maintained strong ties with the former colonial power when he ruled with an iron-hand from 1987 to 2014.
On December 3, Damiba was tasked by then-President Marc Kabore with heading up anti-terrorism operations in the zone in the east of the country as well as in the capital, Ouagadougou.
Prior to that, he was involved in several anti-terror operations between 2015-2019 in the northern Sahel region.
Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba is also the author of a book, published last June and titled, ‘West African Armies and Terrorism: Uncertain Responses?’, in which he analyzes counter-terrorism strategies in the Sahel and their limits.
Earlier this month, Damiba created a 15-person technical committee charged with proposing a timeline for a transitional government that will lead the country to elections. The committee is expected to announce its proposal on how the country should return to democracy in a few weeks.
Aside from lifting the curfew that had been placed during the coup and appointing key leaders in the new transition government, Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba has also signed a final decree to formalize the reopening of Burkina Faso’s land borders.