Burkina Faso Suspended From ECOWAS After Coup

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Friday decided to suspend Burkina Faso following a coup but will not impose other sanctions pending the outcome of talks with the junta, a participant at their summit said.

OUAGADOUGOU – West African leaders on Friday decided to suspend Burkina Faso following a coup, but will not impose new sanctions pending the outcome of talks with the junta, a participant in their meeting said.

Four days after the latest military coup in their region, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed to send two missions to Ouagadougou.

A delegation of ECOWAS chiefs of staff will fly to the Burkinabé capital on Saturday, followed by ministerial envoys on Monday.

The leaders will meet again in Accra on February 3 to assess the results of these missions and see if additional sanctions should be imposed along with the suspension, the source said.

President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was arrested by rebel soldiers on Monday amid growing anger over his failure to stem jihadist violence ravaging the impoverished nation.

The new leader is Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, 41, a rising army star who commands a jihadist-hit region in the east.

Over the past 18 months, ECOWAS, made up of 15 countries, has suspended two other members – Guinea and Mali – where coups have taken place.

But he also imposed a series of sanctions on them, including measures against their leaders.

During a virtual summit lasting about three hours, ECOWAS leaders also called for the release of Kaboré and other imprisoned leaders.

On Tuesday, the bloc condemned the coup and accused the army of forcing Kaboré to resign “under threat, intimidation and pressure”.

JUNTA APPEAL

Amid speculation on Thursday that ECOWAS would impose punitive sanctions on Burkina, Damiba made his first televised comment since the coup, asking for help from the country’s “international partners”.

“I call on the international community to support our country so that it can overcome this crisis as soon as possible,” he said.

Damiba said he understood the “reasonable doubts” raised by the coup and said that Burkina would “continue to respect international commitments, particularly with regard to respect for human rights” and that independence of the judiciary is “guaranteed”.

He promised Burkina “to return to a normal constitutional life…if the conditions are met”.

The coup is the latest upheaval in Burkina Faso, a poor, landlocked country that has suffered from chronic instability since its independence from France in 1960.

Kabore, 64, was elected in 2015 after a popular uprising toppled strongman Blaise Compaoré.

DEATH AND HOMELESSNESSS

He won re-election in 2020 but faced an outpouring of anger the following year over the toll of a jihadist insurgency that swept through neighboring Mali.

Around 2,000 people have been killed since 2015, according to an AFP tally.

Troops, police and a volunteer civilian militia have paid a heavy price, raising questions about their leadership, training and equipment in the face of a ruthless and mobile enemy.

According to the national civil protection agency CONASUR, there are around 1.5 million displaced people in a country of 21 million inhabitants.

Kaboré’s well-being and whereabouts have been a key issue since the coup, with the United Nations leading calls for his release.

On Wednesday, a source from his political party, the Popular Movement for Progress, told AFP that the army was holding Kaboré under house arrest in a mansion.

“President Kaboré is fine physically, but I cannot comment on his mental state,” the source said.

“He has a doctor available (and) access to his cell phone, but under supervision of course.”

RosGwen24 News
RosGwen24 News
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