Burkina Faso extends military rule by five years

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Burkina Faso’s military government has announced it will extend its rule for another five years.

The country’s ruler, Capt Ibrahim Traoré, will also be able to contest the next presidential election, the state-owned broadcaster says.

When he seized power in a coup nearly two years ago, Capt Traore pledged to restore the civilian government by 1 July this year.

But Burkina Faso has now joined neighbouring Mali in extending its rule by the military.

The extension was announced on Saturday, after a national consultation meeting in the West African country’s capital city, Ouagadougou.

An amended charter, signed by Capt Traoré, states that the new 60-month transition period will take effect from 2 July this year.

“The elections marking the end of the transition may be organised before this deadline if the security situation so permits,” news agency Reuters quotes the charter as saying.

Burkina Faso has been governed by its army since January 2022, when Lt Col Paul-Henri Damiba seized power from President Roch Kaboré.

Col Damiba justified the coup by saying the previous government had failed to deal with growing militant Islamist violence.

Since 2015, jihadist rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group have waged a grinding insurgency that has killed thousands and displaced millions.

In September 2022, Capt Traoré ousted Col Damiba, arguing a second coup was necessary because Col Damiba was himself unable to tackle the insurgency.

Capt Traoré promised to improve the country’s dire security situation within “two to three months” and restore civilian rule within 21 months.

But since making this pledge, Capt Traoré has warned that elections are not “a priority” until territory is recaptured from the jihadists so that everyone can vote.

Under the new charter, quotas will no longer be used to assign seats in the assembly to members of traditional parties, news agency AFP reported.

Instead, “patriotism” will be the only criteria for selecting deputies.

The decisions made during Saturday’s national consultation happened swiftly, with local media reports indicating that political parties were absent at the start of the meeting.

International and human rights groups, including the European Union and UN, have accused Burkina Faso of serious human rights violations in its fight against Islamists, including the indiscriminate killings and forced disappearances of dozens of civilians.



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