Ecowas leaders demand transition timetable from Burkina junta

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Shirley Ayorkor Botchway (left), the head of the Ecowas delegation to Burkina Faso and Ecowas President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou after addressing the press in Ouagadougou on January 31, 2022. PHOTO | AFP

By Jacob Kubeka –

West African leaders on Thursday ordered the military leaders in Burkina Faso to produce a clear roadmap for a transition to civilian rule within the “shortest time.”

The leaders made the call at the end of a one-day summit of heads of state and government of the sub regional bloc, Ecowas, in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

The emergency summit was convened to discuss the resurgence of coups in the subregion, with particular focus on last week’s military takeover in Burkina Faso.

Eight heads of state from the 16-member bloc attended the summit, alongside representatives of other leaders.

In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the Ecowas leaders reiterated their “absolute condemnation” of the coup and expressed concern over the continuous detention of the deposed President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

Prior to Thursday’s summit, the heads of state suspended Burkina Faso from the bloc at a virtual summit on January 28.

The Ecowas Commission then dispatched two missions to assess the security and political situations in the country. The findings of those missions were presented to the heads of state in Accra.

“The Authority took note of the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the country. This calls for a quick return to constitutional order to deal effectively with these issues,” the communique reads in part.

They ordered the military junta to establish transition institutions, adopt a transition calendar and facilitate the return to constitutional order.

The Ecowas leaders also resolved to uphold the suspension of the country until the military restore constitutional order.

They ordered the immediate and “unconditional” release of the deposed president, warning that failure to do so will attract sanctions.

According to the communique, Ecowas remains committed to help Burkina Faso through the transition process. The leaders, therefore, instructed the Ecowas Commission to ensure continuous engagement with the junta leadership through the establishment of a monitoring mechanism that includes a role by the African Union and United Nations.

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