Burkina Faso coup leader Ibrahim Traore announced Friday that there would be no elections in the country until security concerns were addressed. Traore previously promised elections would be reinstated by 2024 to ensure democracy.
Speaking on national television, the junta leader said elections were not a priority compared to the related security concerns. In response to a question asking there would not be elections so long as there are security concerns, Traore replied:
No, there won’t be an election concentrated solely in Ouagadougou, Bougouriba and a few surrounding towns. All Burkinabes must choose their president. Those who are going to apply must be able to go anywhere in Burkina, for the people of Burkina. That’s it, go and campaign and all that.
Based on figures released by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, over 17,000 people have died in attacks in the region since 2015, and in 2023 alone there have more than 6,000 deaths. A significant number of deaths come from conflict with jihadist groups.
Traore seized power following a 2022 coup amid jihadist violence, including attacks by Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. While in office, Traore attempted to recruit members for the civilian Defence of the Fatherland force. However, this has done little to ameliorate the situation, with Traore stating recently that they were “at war.”
There have also been a number of negative developments in human rights and freedom of the press in the region, which has recently seen the banning of media outlets RFI, France 24 and Jeune Afrique, as well the expulsion of Liberation and Le Monde correspondents. Similarly, pro-coup protesters have recently sought the removal of the French military presence from the region, and from neighboring regions such as Niger and Mali.