New chief of Burkina Faso National Gendarmerie appointed
The transitional president of Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Traore, has appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Kouagri Natama as the new chief of the National Gendarmerie.
His predecessor, Lieutenant-Colonel Evrard Somda, was removed from the post on Wednesday.
“Lieutenant-Colonel Major Natama Kouagri of the national armed forces has been appointed Chief of Staff of the national gendarmerie,” stated the decree, which was signed by Traore.
Burkinabe intelligence services were able to foil a countercoup attempt against the new leadership last week. According to local authorities, four officers were detained, with two of them reportedly serving in the National Gendarmerie.
A group of officers including Traore seized power in a military coup on September 30 of last year. Somda, a former commander of the national gendarmerie special units, had been in post since February 2022.
The new leaders have said that they are committed to holding elections next year. However, following the recent incident, Traore announced a plan to change the constitution and prolong the transitional period in the country.
“Elections are not a priority. Clearly, security is the priority,” Traore stated on September 29. Earlier on September 27 he said that he was “determined to lead the transition successfully despite adversity and various maneuvers to stop our inexorable march towards sovereignty.”