Burkina Faso coup leader sworn in as President
Burkina Faso Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba swears an oath before the country's top constitutional body to "preserve, respect, uphold, and defend the Constitution."
Burkina Faso Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was inaugurated as President on Wednesday, just over three weeks after he led a coup to topple elected head of state Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
In a televised ceremony, Damiba swore an oath before the country's top constitutional body to "preserve, respect, uphold, and defend the Constitution", the nation's laws and a "fundamental act" of key decisions approved by the junta.
Damiba paid tribute to "the Burkinabe people, who have been enduring the scars of terrorism for more than six years" and called for "collective awareness about the effort and sacrifice" needed for the fight.
Burkina Faso ready to work in full sovereignty
"At these difficult moments, our country has not been abandoned by its partners," Damiba said.
He also stressed that "Burkina Faso reiterates its readiness to work in full sovereignty with all partners in mutual respect."
The press, but no foreign representatives, attended the ceremony in a small room at the offices of the Constitutional Council.
The ceremony observed a minute's silence for the fallen victims of the country.
Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba, 41, took power in Ouagadougou following a military coup on January 24 that ousted elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, accused of not being able to confront terrorism that has struck Burkina Faso for seven years.
Last week, the Constitutional Council formally determined that Damiba was president, head of state, and supreme commander of the armed forces.
The move confirmed an announcement by the junta on January 31 that Damiba would be appointed to those roles for a transitional period and be assisted by two vice presidents.
The country was suspended on February 3 from the West African bloc ECOWAS, the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States.
But ECOWAS envoys came back with positive news from talks with the junta.
The bloc decided against punishing Burkina with further sanctions, unlike coup-hit Guinea and Mali, which have been hit with border closures, an embargo on trade and financial transactions, and sanctions against individuals for perceived foot-dragging over holding elections.
Instead, ECOWAS called for "the speedy creation of a reasonable timetable" for the return to civilian rule.
On January 31, Burkina was also suspended by the African Union "until the effective restoration of constitutional order."
The UN Security Council on February 9 expressed "serious concern" over the country's "unconstitutional change of government," but chose not to describe it as a military coup or even condemn it outright.
Burkina Faso is one of the world's poorest countries and one of the most volatile in Africa.
The Sahel state has experienced repeated coups since gaining independence from France in 1960.
Since the first terrorist attacks in 2015, more than 2,000 people have died, according to an AFP tally, while the country's emergencies agency says more than 1.5 million people have fled their homes.