Burkina Faso given suspension in group

Burkina Faso given suspension in group

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — The African Union has suspended Burkina Faso until constitutional order is restored in the West African country, the organization announced Monday in a tweet.

The suspension comes a week after mutinous soldiers ousted democratically elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore in a coup, citing his inability to stem the violence of Islamic extremists.

The 15-nation West African group ECOWAS already had suspended Burkina Faso last week, making it the third nation in the regional bloc — after Mali and Guinea — to be punished for military takeovers in a year and a half. The suspensions mean the countries cannot participate in any meetings or decision-making, officials said.

While no sanctions have been imposed on Burkina Faso, a delegation with ECOWAS and the head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, arrived in the capital, Ouagadougou, on Monday.

The mediators urged the military junta to prepare a transition to constitutional rule if they wanted to have international support, though a deadline was not given, according to two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

A small group from the delegation also visited Kabore, the ousted president who hadn’t been seen or heard from since being detained last week by the junta, the officials said.

An ECOWAS summit is scheduled for Thursday in Ghana to discuss the situations in Burkina Faso and Mali, which is also under harsh economic and travel sanctions after its coup leader failed to organize an election within 18 months.

On Monday afternoon, Burkina Faso’s junta announced that the leader of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration, Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, is the country’s new president. Reading an announcement on state television, Lt. Col. Cyprien Kabore, a spokesman for the junta, also said the head of the intelligence unit and the army’s chief of staff had been fired, but didn’t say who was replacing them.

Talks with Damiba and ECOWAS began Saturday when a West African military delegation arrived. The junta has said Kabore has not adequately addressed extremist violence in Burkina Faso that has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 1.5 million.

Speaking to the nation last week for the first since seizing power, Damiba said he would restore security and order and unite the country. He warned that the new regime would not tolerate betrayal.

    A woman waits for her order at a Butcher shop in the Gounghin district of Ouagadougou Wednesday Jan. 26, 2022. Experts say that in the wake of Burkina Faso’s coup d’etat, instability could lead to ramped up jihadist attacks as tensions between the gendarme and military may also mount. (AP Photo/Sophie Garcia)

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