Military coup in Burkina Faso

A group of military officers seized power in Ouagadougou and arrested the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Kaboré, on Monday. The new rulers have links to the Russian mercenaries of the notorious Wagner Group. This is the third ousting of a head of state in West Africa within a few months, which leads commentators to conclude that the causes go beyond the situation in Burkina Faso.

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Le Monde (FR) /

A homemade disaster

Le Monde has no doubts about who bears the brunt of the blame:

“West Africa's descent into hell is by no means an exogenous phenomenon. It is true that France, as a role model and supporter of the poorly functioning institutions in the affected states, is partly to blame. It is true that Europe could do more. And it is true that the United Nations should pay more attention to strengthening civil societies there. But the responsibility for the chaos lies primarily with the African rulers themselves. Sixty years after decolonisation they still haven't managed to build a political or developmental model that takes into account the specific nature of their societies.”

France Inter (FR) /

France also faces unpleasant questions

The coup highlights weaknesses on several fronts, points out Pierre Haski, columnist for France Inter:

“This is certainly also a failure for France, as Burkina Faso's now weakened model of government is the one that France encouraged and supported. This is also the view taken by the people of the region, who resent the French military presence for not having saved them from the terrorists and accuse Paris of siding with the rulers and never with the societies they govern. ... Not only France's entire Sahel strategy but also - after an unconvincing phase of democratisation - the model of African states in general are being strongly called into question.”

Die Welt (DE) /

The next setback in the fight against terror

Die Welt sees this as another crisis with relevance for Europe:

“Russian flags are now being waved in Burkina Faso by supporters of the military. It wouldn't be surprising if the generals, like their counterparts in Mali, actually turned to Russia in the fight against rampant terrorism (and as a means of securing power). ... But even if this scenario doesn't materialise in Burkina Faso, developments are worrying for the West because they are further proof of its unsuccessful mission in the Sahel. ... And of course, every coup weakens the already almost non-existent state structures in the region - and encourages the spread of Islamist terrorism in West Africa.”

Tygodnik Powszechny (PL) /

Jihadism driving a new wave of coups

Tygodnik Powszechny sees militant Islamism as the cause of state erosion in Africa:

“The wars waged by jihadists in Africa's Sahel region have brought coups, which were a regular occurrence in Africa half a century ago, back into fashion. It started with the Arab Spring in 2011, the civil war in Libya and the overthrow (and death) of its tyrant Muammar Gaddafi. After looting his vast arsenals, jihadists armed to the teeth from the Sahara and Sahel have brought their holy war to the entire continent.”