Burkina Faso's new self-declared military leader Captain Ibrahim Traore has accepted a conditional resignation offered by Paul-Henri Damiba to avoid further violence.
Burkina Faso's junta leader Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba agreed to step down, two days after military officers announced he had been removed from power, religious and community leaders have said.
Following mediation between Damiba and the new self-proclaimed leader, Ibrahim Traore, "Damiba himself offered his resignation in order to avoid confrontations with serious human and material consequences," a statement on Sunday.
They added that Damiba had set "seven conditions" for stepping down, including a guarantee of security for his allies in the military, "a guarantee of his security and rights" and that those taking power must respect the guarantee he had given to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for a return to civilian rule within two years.
The religious and community leaders — who are very influential in Burkina Faso — said that Traore accepted the conditions and "invites the population to exercise calm, restraint and prayer."
Since the announcement on Friday that army officers had removed Damiba — who himself came to power in a coup in January — tension has been high in the landlocked West African country.
Damiba had previously made clear that he had no intention of stepping down.
Capital mostly calm
Ouagadougou was mostly calm on Sunday after sporadic gunfire across the capital throughout Saturday between opposing army factions.
"We invite you to continue with your activities and refrain from all acts of violence and vandalism... notably that against the French embassy and the French military base," the officer loyal to Traore said, urging people to remain calm.
Security forces had fired tear gas to disperse angry protesters outside the French embassy in Burkina Faso's capital earlier Sunday.
The soldiers announced that Burkina Faso's air borders had been reopened.
A statement issued on Sunday by the pro-Traore military said he would remain in charge "until the swearing in of the president of Burkina Faso designated by the nation's active forces," at an unspecified date.
Coup within a coup
Damiba himself led a coup earlier this year against a civilian government that had lost support over rising violence by militants.
Damiba's failure to stop attacks by the militant groups had led to anger in the ranks of the armed forces in the former French colony.
Divisions have emerged within the army also over whether to seek help from other international partners to combat the militants.
The soldiers who ousted Damiba said the former leader, whom they had helped to seize power in January, reneged on a plan to seek other partners.
They did not name the partners, but observers and supporters said the soldiers want a closer partnership with Russia, as did the soldiers who seized power in neighbouring Mali in August 2020.