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The recent Burkina Faso coup followed a familiar pattern: gunfire in the capital, Ouagadougou; rumours of a military takeover; and then, two whole days later, an announcement by a military leader, flanked by soldiers, that the president had been removed and detained.

In addition to announcing the overthrow of President Roch Kaboré — re-elected just two years ago, in 2020 — Lt-Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba said the group had suspended the constitution and dissolved the government and parliament...

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