African Union suspends Burkina Faso following military coup
© WikiMedia (Sigitas0805)
African Union suspends Burkina Faso following military coup

The African Union (AU) Monday suspended Burkina Faso in response to the January 24 military coup ousting President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

The Peace and Security Council, the AU’s standing decision-making organ for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, announced its decision “to suspend the participation of Burkina Faso in all AU activities until the effective restoration of constitutional order in the country.”

On Friday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Burkina Faso from all ECOWAS institutions and demanded the immediate release and protection of President Kabore and all the other political detainees. It also demanded the restoration of constitutional order in the country and resolved to deploy a delegation to consult with Burkina Faso’s military leaders. No sanctions have been imposed on the country.

In a statement Monday, the junta announced that the constitution was restored and coup leader, Colonel Paul Henri Damiba, was named President of Burkina Faso. The junta approved a “fundamental act” to achieve these ends and named the junta the Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration. The act enshrines the junta’s commitment to the independence of the judiciary, freedom of speech and movement and basic liberties.

Burkina Faso is the third West African country, after Guinea and Mali, to witness a coup d’etat in the past 18 months. Mutinying soldiers led by Colonel Damiba announced on January 24 that President Kabore was deposed, the national assembly dissolved, the constitution suspended and the country’s borders closed. According to the military junta, the takeover was non-violent.

President Kabore faced widespread criticism over his handling of the country’s destabilisation from tensions in neighbouring Mali and attacks by armed groups linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Terrorism has displaced an estimated 1.5 million people from their homes in Burkina Faso.