ECOWAS suspends Burkina Faso without further sanctions

FILE PHOTO: Flags of ECOWAS member countries. /Getty Images

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has suspended Burkina Faso without any further immediate sanctions following Monday’s military takeover which saw President Marc Roch Kabore ousted from office, according to a report by AFP news agency.

The bloc had a virtual meeting on Friday to discuss the situation in the Sahel nation in the wake of the takeover and the unknown state and whereabouts of Kabore.

FILE PHOTO: Burkina Faso soldiers in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou. /AP

Two other members of the 15-member ECOWAS have now experienced military takeovers in less than 18 months.

Mali and Guinea, which experienced the incidents in August 2020 and September 2021, respectively, were suspended by ECOWAS but, unlike Burkina Faso, had a range of sanctions imposed on them.

Mali recently had tougher sanctions imposed on them following a proposal by the military junta to hold elections in 2026 instead of February this year.

On Thursday, Burkina Faso’s UNIR-MPS party appealed to ECOWAS to spare the country from political and economic sanctions ahead of the meeting arguing they will exacerbate the population’s already dire socio-economic and political situation.

Though the group of military officers behind Burkina Faso’s takeover, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), has not detailed its plans for a transition, it said it would propose a timeline for a return to constitutional order “within a reasonable time frame”.