Burkina's interim gov't vows to 'alleviate the suffering of the people'

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Burkina Faso’s 25-member government met Monday for their first-time cabinet meeting a few days after their appointment.

Prime Minister Albert Ouédraogo, who was appointed on Thursday, formed a 25-member government on Saturday - including six women - to lead the country for three years before they return to constitutional order.

"I call on all Burkinabes from all walks of life to support the new government in these difficult times that our country is going through and in the implementation of this vision of change that the President of Faso wants to give impetus to overall governance," said Albert Ouedraogo, the Prime minister of Burkina Faso.

The new transitional government in Burkina Faso pledged to "work selflessly" to "relieve the suffering of the people" affected by the jihadist violence that has plagued the country for the past seven years, Monday at its first meeting.

"We have made a commitment to the Head of State to work selflessly to relieve the suffering of the people and to restore our country to its territorial limits," said Prime Minister Albert Ouédraogo after the meeting.

Burkina Faso strongman Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba has named a 25-member government to lead the West African country during a three-year transition following January's coup.

General Barthelemy Simpore retains the job of defence minister that he held under Roch Marc Christian Kabore who was ousted after troops mutinied over his strategy against jihadists.

Simpore has even been elevated to the rank of minister of state, according to a Damiba decree published late Saturday.

Six women have been appointed to the cabinet, including Olivia Rouamba who will serve as foreign minister.

Yero Boly, who was a minister in various governments under previous president Blaise Compaore, was named minister of state to the president and tasked with national reconciliation.

Civil society and union leaders such as Lionel Bilgo and Bassolma Bazie have also been appointed ministers, the former to handle national education and literacy.

Damiba on Thursday named economist Albert Ouedraogo the new prime minister.

Damiba, a 41-year-old lieutenant-colonel, seized power on January 24, toppling elected president Kabore.

He was sworn in as president and head of the armed forces by the top constitutional body on February 16.

Brief ceremonies to officialise his position were held Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Damiba signed a so-called transition charter that declared elections would be held 36 months after his inauguration.

The period was longer than the 30 months that had been proposed by a commission set up by the junta.

The charter stipulates that the president is not eligible for the "presidential, legislative and municipal elections which will be organised to put an end to the transition."

In addition to the 25-member cabinet, a 71-member legislature is being set up to ensure the transition.

Their members will also be barred from contesting the post-transition ballot.

On Wednesday the head of state ordered a general audit of the public sector, a measure aimed at promoting good governance.

One of the poorest countries in the world, the landlocked Sahel state has a long history of volatility since gaining independence from France in 1960.

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