ECOWAS suspends Burkina Faso

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West African leaders met virtually on Friday to discuss the military takeover in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso was on Friday suspended from a bloc of West African neighbour states in the aftermath of this week’s coup, making it the third nation in the regional alliance to be punished for a military takeover in only 18 months.

The announcement from the Economic Community of West African States, came days after more than a dozen mutinous soldiers went on state television in Burkina Faso to announce their military takeover of the country that is already under siege from Islamic extremist attacks. If no other sanction than the suspension of the country was decided, Ghanean chairman of ECOWAS regretted a spate of coups in the region.

“The crisis in Burkina Faso and its ramifications […] the deteriorating political situation in our region should be a matter of great concern to all of us, President Nana Akufo-Addo said. No current country is insulated from its occurrence in the community and we have to take action to nip it in the bud.”

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To make its voice heard, the regional body has sent a defence delegation to Ougadougou which expected to arrive on Saturday. However no warm welcome will be reserve for them. Many Burkanabe are at odds with the regional bloc. For street trader Adama Zongo, the community of West African states is not helpful at all: “ECOWAS should have come to help us before the coup. They did not intervene and now it is late. Let them leave us alone.”

Another street trader, Ilboudo, spells it out: “We don’t even want to hear about the ECOWAS decision. Don’t they even dare come here. If they come here we will throw stones at them.”

After the visit of an ECOWAS defence chiefs delegation, a ministerial mission is expected in Ouagadougou on Monday. A new ECOWAS summit on the situation in Burkina Faso will be held in Accra On February 3rd. More sanctions may be announced on that occasion.

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