Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Jude Johnson

The West African bloc ECOWAS on Friday suspended Burkina Faso following a coup, but will not impose other sanctions for the time being, a participant at a virtual summit said.

ECOWAS is also calling for the new junta to release ousted president Roch Marc Christian Kabore and other officials detained during Monday’s coup.

ECOWAS will hold another summit in Accra on February 3, it added.

The summit, which lasted around three hours, also decided to send a mission of ECOWAS chiefs of staff to Ouagadougou, the Burkinabe capital, on Saturday.

This will be followed on Monday by ministerial-level envoys from the bloc, the source said.

Kabore, 64, was elected in 2015 following a popular revolt that forced out strongman Blaise Compaore.

He was re-elected in 2020, but the following year faced a wave of anger over the mounting toll from a jihadist insurgency that swept in from neighbouring Mali.

On Sunday, mutinies broke out in several barracks and the following day, Kabore was arrested and taken away by troops.

The impoverished Sahel state is being run by a junta led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who commands military units in the country’s jihadist-torn east.

On the eve of the summit, Damiba made a televised appeal for “the international community to support our country so it can exit this crisis as soon as possible.”

He promised Burkina would “return to a normal constitutional life… when the conditions are right.”

Burkina Faso joins two other ECOWAS countries — Mali and Guinea — where there have been coups in the past 18 months.

Those two countries have been suspended by the regional bloc, which has also imposed an array of sanctions on them, including measures against individuals.

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