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ECOWAS suspension for Burkina Faso

ECOWAS suspends the West African country following the recent coup d'état
Headquarters of the ECOWAS Tribunal

PHOTO/ARCHIVO  -   Headquarters of the ECOWAS Tribunal

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Burkina Faso from its functions on Friday, following the coup d'état perpetrated by the army last Monday, at an extraordinary virtual summit attended by the heads of state and government to analyze the situation. 

The summit was also urgently convened by Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana and leader of ECOWAS.

However, the summit attendees will not take any further action directed towards the country, apart from sending an ECOWAS civilian and military mission to the capital, Ouagadougou, in order to study the political situation within the territory.  

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ECOWAS "will send this Saturday a mission of military chiefs of staff from the various countries to Ouagadougou" to "assess the situation, sensitize the new authorities on the need for them to maintain a republican stance and draw their attention to the negative consequences of their coup d'état in the country," communicated the Ivorian Presidency, whose representative, Alassane Ouattara, attended the summit.

In addition, the participating leaders have decided to agree on a new meeting in Accra, capital of Ghana, where they will again discuss the evolution of events, according to the news portal Burkina24.   

According to information confirmed to EFE by ECOWAS sources, the leaders "have suspended Burkina Faso following the coup", without deciding, for the moment, on the imposition of sanctions, in addition to demanding "the release of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré", who was overthrown and allegedly detained by the coup leaders. 

Manifestantes salen a las calles de la capital de Burkina Faso, Uagadugú, el sábado 27 de noviembre de 2021, para pedir la dimisión del presidente Roch Marc Christian Kabore
AP/SOPHIE GARCIA - Protesters take to the streets of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, to demand the resignation of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore

The ECOWAS leader also pointed out the need for the situation in the African country to be resolved through peace, as well as defending the value of "a peaceful, just and stable democracy" after the coup, calling for a "firm stance" against the overthrow of democratic governments, according to Joy News.

"I ask you to critically examine this rising phenomenon in our region so that we can make the necessary decisions that meet the aspirations and expectations of the citizenry. The rest of the world is watching us to be firm on this issue," Akufo-Addo added. 

He also recalled the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which prohibits unconstitutional changes as far as its member states are concerned, leaving as the only option access to power through free and transparent elections.     

El presidente de Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kabore
REUTERS/GONZALO FUENTES  -   President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kabore

Moreover, in her opening speech at the summit, Nana Akufo-Addo has warned attendees that democracy in the region is suffering "a setback" following previous coups in Mali, in Guinea-Conakri and in Burkina Faso itself.   

"The deteriorating political situation in our region should be a matter of great concern to all of us. No country today is isolated from its occurrence in the community. And we have to act to nip it in the bud," the Ghanaian president assured.   

The coup was staged by the military to protest insecurity and inadequate action to deal with jihadism, demanding the resignation of Kaboré and more senior officials of the security forces.  

The leader of the coup plotters, Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, called in his first speech for the international community's support for Burkina Faso "so that it can emerge from this crisis as soon as possible and resume its path to development."  

Miembros de la Gendarmería en medio del humo, durante una protesta que pide la dimisión del presidente de Burkina Faso, Roch Kabore, y la salida de las fuerzas francesas que patrullan el país, en Uagadugú, Burkina Faso 27 de noviembre de 2021
REUTERS/VINCENT BADO - Members of the gendarmerie amid smoke bombs during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Burkina Faso's President Roch Kabore and the departure of French forces patrolling the country, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, November 27, 2021

"I understand the legitimate doubts raised by this rupture in the normal functioning of the State, but I want to assure all friends of Burkina Faso that the country will continue to respect its international commitments, especially in terms of respect for human rights," Damiba added.  

Moreover, the leader of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), the name of the country's current ruling military junta, assured that "constitutional normality" will only return if the conditions demanded by the Burkinabe people are accepted.   

The military seized power in Burkina Faso after a coup d'état perpetrated on the 24th, which was confirmed after the appearance of members of the military junta on the state television RTB, where they announced having deposed President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, the dissolution of the Government and the Parliament, as well as the suspension of the Constitution.