Tue. Apr 16th, 2024
Captain Sidsore Kader Ouedraogo, spokesman for the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration, announces that the army has taken control of the country in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on January 24, 2022. (Credit| RTB/Reuters TV/CFR)

Mukaila Ola

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned the coup d’etat in Burkina Faso, describing it as a step backward.

The regional body had in two separate statements on the military take-over of government in the West African countries condemned the action in its entirety.

In an early statement when the military had not explicitly came out to declare a take-over, the body said: “ECOWAS is following with great concern the political and security developments in Burkina Faso since Sunday, 23 January 2022, characterized by an attempted coup d’état.

“ECOWAS condemns this extremely serious act which cannot be tolerated under the relevant regulations.

“It holds the military responsible for the physical integrity of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. ECOWAS calls on the military to return to their barracks, to maintain a republican posture and to give priority to dialogue with the authorities to resolve the problems.”

The body came out with a new statement when the picture became clearer that military was not going to change its posture. The statement read that: “ECOWAS notes that, despite calls by the regional and international community for calm and respect for constitutional legality, the situation in Burkina Faso is characterised by a military coup d’état on Monday 24 January 2022, following the resignation of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, obtained under the threat, intimidation and pressure of the military after two days of mutiny.

“ECOWAS strongly condemns this military takeover which marks a major step backwards for Burkina Faso. An extraordinary ECOWAS summit will be held in the coming days to examine this situation.”

Sanctions are expected to be issued after the extraordinary meeting by ECOWAS against Burkina Faso to compel the military to retrace their steps.

In a similar development, the United States has equally condemned the military putsch,

A statement by the spokesman of Unites States Department of State, Ned Price, read: “The United States is deeply concerned by events in Burkina Faso. We note that military officers have asserted that they have dissolved the government and national assembly and suspended the constitution.

“We are also deeply concerned by reports of the January 23 detention of Burkina Faso’s President, Roch Marc Kaboré, by members of Burkina Faso’s military. We condemn these acts and call on those responsible to deescalate the situation, prevent harm to President Kaboré and any other members of his government in detention, and return to civilian-led government and constitutional order.

“We acknowledge the tremendous stress on Burkinabé society and security forces posed by ISIS and JNIM but urge military officers to step back, return to their barracks, and address their concerns through dialogue.

“The United States is closely monitoring this fluid situation, and we call for restraint by all actors as we carefully review the events on the ground for any potential impact on our assistance.”

Also, the French President Emmanuel Macron has condemned the military take-over.

In his reaction to coup d’etat during an interview by Radio France Internationale (RFI), Macron: “As you know, France is present in the region to fight terrorism. And I am constantly committed to working alongside regional bodies. ECOWAS condemned yesterday this new coup d’état, which was led by the military. And since President Kaboré has been democratically elected by his people twice, France supports the position of ECOWAS. Our priority is obviously that his physical integrity is preserved and that calm is maintained.

“Today it is too early to go into more detail, if I may say so, in the characterisation of the situation in Burkina Faso. And it is clear that this situation remains worrying in view of what has happened since the summer of 2020 in Mali and what has happened in recent months in Guinea. And I think that the region must be supported in its desire to maintain civil transitions and democratic elections. In addition to this, I would like to remind you that our priority in the region is obviously to continue to fight against Islamist terrorism, which continues to wreak havoc in Mali, but also in Burkina Faso, which has been the target of numerous terrorist attacks in recent times.”

He added that: “Moreover, when we look at the demands, the motivations of the coup plotters, it is clear that the security situation and the blows that have been dealt to both the army and the civilian population by these terrorist groups is a determining factor in this rebellion. So our desire is in close collaboration with ECOWAS on the one hand, but also with all the states involved, what we call the Accra Initiative, to fight against all forms of terrorism in the region, and to stand by the states and the people.”

On whether he entertains fear that other countries will suffer from what are called popular coups, Macron said: “We must not underestimate the fatigue and exhaustion created by the permanent attacks of terrorist groups, which weaken the armed forces on the one hand, and which also profoundly weaken the link with the population and the legitimate institutions. So, this is also why, if we want to fight for education, economic emancipation, stability in these democratically elected countries and for the sovereignty of the states, it is important to continue to intensify the fight against terrorism.”

The French President said he does not yet have any information about the deposed Burkina Faso’s President.

He said: “I don’t have any more information than that which has been passed on. It was confirmed to me last night that he was in good health and that he was not under threat. I hope that this will be officially guaranteed in the next few hours and that we will collectively ensure that he and his family are placed in safety.”

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