Burkina Faso’s Latest Coup


Tracking Global Events | 3 October 2022

On September 30th 2022, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba—the former interim President of Burkina Faso—was overthrown in the second Coup d’état the West African nation has seen in eight months. Lt. Col. Damiba also came to power in a coup in January that was motivated by the previous democratic government’s failure to bring an end to a worsening Islamist insurgency and an inability to ensure safety and security in Burkina Faso. Using a convenience sample, we launched a rapid response survey as the coup was underway and received 550 responses from mostly male contributors in all 12 regions of the country.

Views on Damiba’s Leadership and the Coup that Ousted Him

  • A majority of contributors surveyed chose to stay neutral when asked how they feel about the leadership of the now ousted Lt Col Paul-Henri Damiba, with 34% saying they “neither support nor oppose” his leadership and 19% saying they “prefer not to answer”. But another 19% saying they “somewhat oppose”, and 16% “strongly oppose”.
  • When he led the January 2022 coup, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Damiba cited the government’s failure to ensure safety and security in Burkina Faso as one of his main reasons for acting. That also seems to be one of the driving forces behind this counter coup, as Islamic insurgency in the country has worsened under his rule. When specifically asked about Damiba’s efforts to make the country safer, 28% of contributors said he was “very unsuccessful”, 24% say he was “somewhat unsuccessful”, with 30% choosing to stay neutral.
  • When asked about the coup directly, a majority of respondents showed some level of support, with 36% saying they “strongly support”, 24% saying they “somewhat support”, and 33% choosing to stay neutral.

“What is your opinion of this coup?”

“What is your opinion on having a Russian private security company in Burkina Faso?”

Role of France and Russia (Wagner Group)

  • Many view this latest coup as a part of the ongoing power struggle between France and Russia in parts of Africa. BBC reports that after the coup, people in Ouagadougou “chanted pro-Russian slogans and waved Russian flags”.
  • In a multiple-choice question, contributors were asked what they thought were the main motivations behind the coup and the top three responses were “dissatisfaction with the leadership of Lt Col Paul-Henri Damiba” (31%), “dissatisfaction with efforts to combat violent extremist groups” (29%), and “dissatisfaction with the role France has played in Burkina Faso” (15%).
  • 53% of respondents said that they strongly or somewhat supported having a Russian private security company (Wagner Group) in the country. A further 43% chose to stay neutral, and only 5% oppose to any extent

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