West African chief vows support for extremist-torn Burkina Faso

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
2 min read

The head of West Africa’s regional bloc has expressed support for extremist-hit Burkina Faso less than five months after an insurgency sparked by militants sparked a new coup, the Burkinabe government said.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, current president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), made a one-day visit to Ouagadougou on Wednesday for talks with junta leader Captain Ibrahim Traore.

Traore, 34, seized power on September 30 at the head of army officers angered at failures to roll back a bloody extremist campaign.

In a statement issued after the talks, Traore’s office said Embalo was “reassured by the steady transition” for returning the country to civilian rule.

Embalo also “reaffirmed the willingness of the West African organization to support and accompany Burkina Faso in the fight against terrorism.”

ECOWAS, a 15-member organization which includes Burkina Faso, is struggling with a string of military coups in its region and an escalating extremist insurgency in the Sahel.

It has taken a relatively hard line with Guinea and Mali over coups there, invoking the threat of sanctions to try to speed up the return to civilian rule.

But it has been more supportive of Burkina Faso, one of the poorest and most volatile countries in the world, where two coups erupted last year.

All three countries have been suspended from the bloc’s decision-making bodies.

Traore in September ousted Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had seized power the previous January.

Traore has promised to stand by Damiba’s commitment to ECOWAS to hold elections and restore civilian rule by July 2024.

Embalo “stressed the need to pursue contacts with ECOWAS heads of state and also with various partners, to provide timely support for our country in the face of security and humanitarian challenges,” the Burkinabe statement said.

Thousands of people have died and more than two million people have fled their homes since extremists began launching attacks on Burkina Faso from neighboring Mali in 2015. More than a third of the country’s territory lies outside of government control.

Read more:

UN calls for ‘impartial probe’ after 28 killed in Burkina Faso

At least ten civilians killed in extremist attack in northern Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso new self-proclaimed leader urges end to violence on French targets

Top Content Trending