August 15, 2022
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa bordered by Mali to the northwest, Niger to the northeast, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, and Benin to the south. In July 2019, a United Nations report estimated its population at 20,321,378. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta (1958-1984), the country was named "Burkina Faso" on August 4, 1984 by the then president. Thomas Sankara. Its citizens are known as Burkinabe, and its capital and largest city is Ouagadougou. Due to French colonialism, the official language of government and business is French, however only 15% of the population speak it regularly. 59 native languages are spoken in Burkina Faso, with the most common , Mossi, is spoken by about 50% of the population. It became independent from France on August 5, 1960. After student and union protests, the country's first president, Maurice Yaméogo, was deposed in a coup in 1966, led by Sangoulé Lamizana. His rule coincided with drought and famine in the Sahel, and he was deposed in a 1980 coup led by Saye Zerbo. Meeting resistance from the unions again, Zerbo's government was overthrown by another coup in 1982, led by Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo. Thomas Sankara, a Marxist and leader of the leftist faction of Ouédraogo's government, was appointed prime minister but was later jailed. Efforts to free him led to the 1983 coup, in which he became president. Sankara launched an ambitious socio-economic program that included a literacy campaign, redistribution of land to peasants, construction of railways, and roads and a ban on female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy. Sankara was overthrown and killed in a 1987 coup led by Blaise Compaoré Government instability during the 1970s and 1980s was followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Compaoré was elected president in 1991, 1998, 2005, and 2010, remaining in office until his removal during the 2014 Revolution.  Michel Kafando subsequently became president of the transition. The Presidential Security Regiment, Compaoré's former presidential guard, carried out a coup on September 16, 2015 against the Kafando's government. On September 24, following pressure from the African Union, ECOWAS and the military, the military junta resigned and Kafando was reinstated in power. After the general elections held on November 29, 2015, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré took office as president. The soldiers who initiated the coup d'état in Burkina Faso confirmed on Monday (January 24, 2022) on state television the seizure of power and announced the dissolution of the Government, Parliament and the Constitution. In the message, the coup soldiers also announced the closure of the borders and promised a "return to constitutional order" within a "reasonable" period.