Burkina Faso strongman 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 was dressed in camouflage uniform and a red beret, and wore a sash in the colours of Burkina’s national flag. The press, but no foreign representatives, attended the ceremony in a small room at the offices of the Constitutional Council.
On January 24, Damiba, 41, led disgruntled officers to force out Kabore following public anger over his handling of a bloody jihadist insurgency.
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.
Burkina Faso is one of the world’s poorest countries and one of the most volatile in Africa. The landlocked Sahel state has experienced repeated coups since gaining independence from France in 1960.
Since the first jihadist 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.