The Economic Community of West African States is holding an emergency summit today to discuss the bloc’s response to the recent military coup in Burkina Faso. On Thursday, coup leader Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba gave his first televised address since he led a mutiny that deposed President Roch Kaboré Monday.
Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Damiba: “It is clear that the main priority remains security. We must significantly reduce the areas under terrorist influence and the impact of violent extremism by giving the security forces and the Volunteers for Homeland Defense the will to fight, and to go on the offensive.”
According to U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM, Damiba received training on multiple occasions from the U.S. military. Since 2008, African military officers trained at American so-called peacekeeping programs have successfully led or attempted at least nine coups across West Africa.