Saturday, February 4, 2023

34-Year-Old Burkina’s Junta Chief Becomes World’s Youngest Leader

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Just a week ago, 34-year-old Ibrahim Traore was an unknown, even in his native Burkina Faso.

But in the space of a weekend, he catapulted himself from army captain to the world’s youngest leader – an ascent that has stoked hopes but also fears for a poor and chronically troubled country.

Traore, at the head of a core of disgruntled junior officers, ousted Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had seized power just in January.

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The motive for the latest coup – as in January – was anger at failures to stem a seven-year jihadist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and driven nearly two million people from their homes.

On Wednesday, Traore was declared president and “guarantor of national independence, territorial integrity… and continuity of the State.”

At that lofty moment, Traore became the world’s youngest leader, wresting the title from Chilean President Gabriel Boric, a whole two years older.

Traore’s previously unknown face is now plastered on portraits around the capital Ouagadougou.

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Burkina’s new leader photo is even on sale in the main market, alongside portraits of Burkina’s revered assassinated radical leader, Thomas Sankara, and of Jesus.

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Photo Credit: Getty

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