Burkina Faso: Military government resists ECOWAS’ pressure to shorten transition period

Burkina Faso’s military regime has resisted pressure from West Africa’s regional bloc, ECOWAS, to shorten its 3 years transitional period set to relinquish power to a civilian government.

The military has declared it has no plans to hand over the government in less than three years as its priority for the country is to put security in place. 

Justifying the decision, the junta’s spokesman, Lionel Bilgo said, “to establish a viable democracy the first thing we need to do is to clear the territory (of Islamists), to allow peace to return.”

However, the regional bloc has been negotiating to have the period shortened to “a more acceptable timeline.”

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Unlike other West African countries like Mali and Guinea whom were heavily sanctioned by ECOWAS after their respective coups, Burkina Faso initially cooperated with the regional bloc; an approach which delayed sanctions from ECOWAS.

On the issue of the release of the ousted president, the regime said “Talks … are ongoing, with a view to allowing the former president to return to a family residence of his choice whilst guaranteeing his security.” 

The military came into power earlier in the year, January to be precise, after ousting President Roch Kabore. On assumption of power, they quoted that the reason for their takeover was due to the fact that President Kabore’s government failed to curb Islamist insurgent who seemed to have overpowered some territories in Burkina Faso.

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