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Who Is Paul Henri Damiba, Burkina Faso’s New President?

Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, January 27, 2022. © RTB via AP

 

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.

Protestors hold the photo of Lt Colonel Paul Damiba.  /RTB via AP

Education 

Damiba’s background is similar to that of many of Burkina Faso’s military elite.

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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.

Career

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.

Achievements

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.

Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, in a red beret in the center-left in the foreground, during the MPSR’s statement on Burkinabè national television, January 24, 2022. © RTB/Screenshot

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.

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Written by PH

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