ECOWAS to meet over Burkina Faso Coup

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The West African bloc ECOWAS will meet on Friday to discuss the current unrest in Burkina Faso, where army officers have ousted President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

The extraordinary summit will start at 10:00 GMT and be held virtually, ECOWAS said in a note on Wednesday.

The 15-member Economic Community of West African States, which includes Burkina Faso, had already condemned Monday’s coup, which came amidst anger about Kabore’s response to violence by armed groups.

The African Union has also condemned the coup, a move which analysts has disapprove urging regional bodies to put the necessary measures in place to rather prevent the crisis in the region.

A source in the deposed president’s party said earlier that Kabore “is physically well” and was being held by the army in a villa, the AFP news agency reported.

The 64-year-old was elected in 2015 following a popular uprising that forced out strongman Blaise Compaore.

He was re-elected in 2020. However since last year, the country has faced a wave of attacks from armed groups that have killed over 2,000 people and displacing a million and a half to flee their homes.

On Sunday, mutinies exploded in several army barracks and on Monday, the army rebels brought the country under the control of the Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration (MPSR), a military government led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.

The MPSR has announced the suspension of the constitution and dissolution of the government and parliament with Damiba saying on Monday that it would propose a return to constitutional order “within a reasonable time frame”.

ECOWAS said on Monday that Kabore was forced to resign under threat and intimidation.

West Africa has been rattled by three military coups in less than 19 months, beginning with Mali in 2020 and Guinea in September 2021.

In August 2020, army officers deposed Mali’s elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who had likewise been facing protests for his handling of the country’s violence.

ECOWAS has already slapped broad sanctions on Mali, where the military-led government said this month it planned to hold power through 2025, going back on a previous agreement to organise elections this February.

However, some analysts have argued, the sanctions are ineffective calling on ECOWAS to device different strategies in solving these problems.

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