Africa

Coup d'Etat: Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana, new strongman of Burkina Faso

The strongman of Ouagadougou would be in the nets of the Cobras according to several local sources. For the time being, no press release is available on this confused situation.

Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana is the Cobra Force Commander.

It was his men who surrounded the palace.

Lieutenant Colonel Damiba is entrenched there and negotiations are underway.

For Anecdote, it was Lieutenant Colonel Zoungrana and his men who led the coup that ousted Kabore from power. But Damiba got on the seat.

In Ouaga, traffic is normal even if there are soldiers in places

Some Burkinabés are impatient to hear the official press release on the new future strong man of Burkina.

Who is Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana?

He was renowned as one of the promising officers of the Burkinabè army. One of its "well done" heads, a graduate of a French baccalaureate with a philosophy option and who, in his free time, likes to write novels. Author of several books, Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana also has his own publishing house and is a regular at the Ouagadougou International Book Fair (Filo).

On January 10, the officer-writer was arrested. As Jeune Afrique revealed, he is suspected by the authorities of having prepared a coup attempt. Eight other soldiers were also arrested in this case. According to a security source, investigations are continuing and several other arrests are in progress, both within the army and among civilians.
In a press release, the military prosecutor's office indicates that it was seized, on January 8, "of an allegation of a project to destabilize institutions planned by a group of soldiers" by "denunciation of a member of the gang". According to corroborating sources, it was on the basis of information obtained by the security services that Lieutenant-Colonel Zoungrana and his alleged accomplices were arrested. A certain Sankara, an officer from the 12th commando infantry regiment stationed at the national development service (SND) in Ouahigouya, is among those arrested. “At least two officers are among the soldiers arrested. The arrests are still continuing, the procedure is not over, ”slips a security source. Lieutenant-Colonel Zoungrana's driver and the treasurer of his former regiment were also arrested.

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Troubled role

Aged about forty, Lieutenant-Colonel Zoungrana is a graduate of the Prytanée militaire du Kadiogo (PMK), which trains officers of the Burkinabè army, has a fine CV. Passed by the commando training center of Pô, he was commander of the western sector of the grouping of the security forces of the North and led the 25th commando parachute regiment (RPC), based in Bobo-Dioulasso.

During the resistance against the coup perpetrated by General Gilbert Diendéré in 2015, he played a murky role as young officers hostile to the putschists converged on the capital to force them to lay down their arms. An officer seasoned in combat and described for his tough character, Zoungrana had led in 2021 the creation of a special forces unit, called "Mamba".

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Latent discontent within the army

Until recently, he was the corps commander of the 12th commando infantry regiment (RIC) in Ouahigouya. He had been relieved of this position on December 16 by presidential decree, not for professional misconduct, but because it was part of a hierarchy renewal plan. Twelve other corps commanders were then replaced.
Since the Inata attack, which claimed the lives of 53 gendarmes, in mid-November, discontent has been latent within the army and the rumors of a putsch – more or less founded – have only been reinforced. In particular, instructions were given to various services to scrutinize certain young officers closely. Among them, Lieutenant-Colonel Zoungrana and other corps commanders.

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The officer was also known to be close to Cheriff Sy, the former Minister of Defense, sacked in June 2021 after the Solhan massacre. Enough to fuel all kinds of speculation about his possible involvement, even about the possibility of a plot mounted against him by his rivals.

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