Burkina Faso currently has the youngest leader on the continent thanks to a coup d’etat that deposed a coup leader on September 30, 2022.
Between January 2022 and the last day of September 2022, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was in charge as a military ruler having led a coup against democratically-elected Christian Roch Marc Kabore.
He was forced out through the same door he came in, through a coup. Exit Sandaogo Damiba, enter Captain Ibrahim Traore.
Traore is 34-years old. Double the age of most African leaders – either political leaders or royals.
A member of the MPSR (Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration), the coup vehicle that removed Damiba, he has assumed the leadership of the Movement with the resignation, late Sunday, October 2; of his predecessor.
Who is Captain Ibrahim Traore?
A local media portal, O Medias, provided a French bio of the new leader of the West African nation battling terrorist insurgency, the stated reason for which the last two coups have been justified. The piece was authored by one Abdoul Fhatave Tiemtoré.
The new President of the MPSR, Ibrahim Traoré is a “34-year-old captain who has been reputed to be ‘very brilliant’ from a very young age,” the author wrote.
His primary education was traced to the town of Bondokuy, in the Mouhoun province in the country’s south. There, he obtained his primary school certificate, then his undergraduate studies certificate.
He moved on to Bobo-Dioulasso where he was enrolled at the Accart-ville de Bobo mixed high school.
A former school friends testifies that he was “rather shy and reserved, but also “very intelligent”.
Members of the Association of Muslim Pupils and Students of Burkina (AEEMB) also remember a “very calm” boy.
After his baccalaureate obtained in 2006, the young Ibrahim Traoré went to the capital, Ouagadougou, to continue his studies at the Joseph Ki-Zerbo University.
It was in 2010 that Ibrahim Traoré joined the army. He earned his first stripes in 2012.
As a second lieutenant, he was assigned to the artillery regiment, based in Kaya in the Center-North region, on behalf of the 1st military region. He evolved rapidly, rising to lieutenant in 2014 and captain in 2020.
After the MPSR took power in 2022, he was made chief of the artillery regiment in March. He is said to be a hands-on person who commands the respect of his troops.
Captain Ibrahim Traoré also proved himself during the Otapuanu military operation in 2019 in the Eastern region, in which he participated for seven months.
He also served with the Markoye detachment in the Sahel region, and in several operations in the northern sector of the theater of operations.
He helped install deposed Damiba on January 24th and now he has received the support of the military hierarchy as of October 2, to lead the country in the fight against terrorists who are running amok in parts of the country.
Can he succeed where a democratically-elected and a senior military leader failed in quick succession? Time they say, will tell.