Ibrahim Traore, the young army captain who led the latest coup in Burkina Faso, became interim president on Friday and vowed to take back territory from jihadists.
Traore promised to support a transition leading to elections in July 2024 when he was sworn in in the capital, Ouagadougou, under tight security.
Traore, 34, led disgruntled junior officers last month in the second coup in eight months to hit the West African country.
The reason, as in January, was anger over failures to stop a seven-year-old jihadist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and driven nearly two million people from their homes.
Board members had already announced that he would take over as transitional president, but Friday was the official inauguration.
After being sworn in, Traore, dressed in military uniform and a headscarf in the country’s national colors, said: “We are facing an unprecedented security and humanitarian crisis.
“Our objectives are none other than the reconquest of the territory occupied by these hordes of terrorists,” he added. “The existence of Burkina Faso is in danger.”
The oath was outlined in the transition letter adopted last week.
The fourth article of the letter establishes “that the mandate of the transitional president ends with the investiture of the president resulting from the presidential election” scheduled for July 2024.
“I swear on my honor before the people of Burkina Faso that I will preserve, respect, ensure respect and defend the (Burkina Faso) constitution, transition charter and laws,” Traore said as he read his oath.
Last month, Traore ousted Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.
Damiba himself had only taken power in January, ousting Burkina Faso’s last elected president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
Foreign dignitaries were absent from the inauguration in a well-guarded room of the constitutional council in Ouagadougou.
Traore’s inauguration comes amid a struggle for influence between France and Russia in Francophone Africa, where former French colonies are increasingly turning to Moscow.
Traore seems, for now, to bring hope to many in a country that is steadily sinking into the quagmire.