Burkina Faso junta warns politicians in talks over transition period


  • World
  • Thursday, 27 Jan 2022

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - The junta that overthrew Burkina Faso's government warned ex-ministers not to leave the capital or obstruct its military officers during talks over how to return to democratic elections, one of the politicians present said on Thursday.

The officers, who call themselves the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), ousted President Roch Kabore on Monday, blaming him for failing to contain worsening violence by Islamist militants.

The MPSR has said it would propose a calendar for a return to constitutional order "within a reasonable time frame" but has not elaborated on its plans for a transition.

The MPSR's leader, Lieutenant Colonel Henri-Paul Damida, met members of Kabore's government on Wednesday, according to one of the ex-ministers present, who asked not to be named.

Damida warned them not to do anything to obstruct the junta or to travel outside the capital, but added that he welcomed any contribution they could offer to the transition, the former minister said.

The junta is also due to meet a group of trade unions on Thursday, according to an internal note from Burkina Faso's main labour organisation that was seen by Reuters.

The meetings come before a planned emergency summit of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Friday to discuss how to respond to the coup.

ECOWAS imposed sanctions on Mali and Guinea following military takeovers in August 2020 and September 2021, respectively.

This latest coup in West and Central Africa comes amid an increasingly bloody Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands and displaced millions across the Sahel region, eroding faith in democratic leaders to combat the problem.

The juntas in Mali and Guinea, as well as in the Central African nation of Chad, where the military took power in April 2021, have all set up similar transitional governments with a mixture of military officers and civilians.

The juntas in Mali and Chad agreed to 18-month transitions to democratic elections, while Guinea's has not yet laid out a timeline.

Malian authorities, however, have gone back on their original commitment and have proposed to delay elections, originally scheduled for next month, by up to four years.

(Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga; writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Alison Williams)

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