African Union suspends Burkina Faso after coup

African Union Suspends Burkina Faso After Coup African Union Suspends Burkina Faso After Coup
People take to the streets of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to rally in support of the new military junta that ousted democratically elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and seized control of the country, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Sam Mednick, Associated Press

The African Union said it has suspended Burkina Faso until constitutional order is restored in the West African country.

It comes a week after mutinous soldiers ousted democratically elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore in a coup, citing his inability to stem jihadi violence.

The 15-nation West African group ECOWAS had already suspended Burkina Faso last week, making it the third nation in the regional bloc – after Mali and Guinea – to be punished for military takeovers in a year-and-a-half.

A Save Burkina Faso movement supporter holds a Burkina Faso flag after it was announced that Lt Col Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba had taken the reins of the country (Sophie Garcia/AP)

The suspensions mean the countries cannot participate in any meetings or decision-making, officials said.

While no sanctions have been imposed on Burkina Faso, a joint delegation with ECOWAS and the head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, arrived in the capital Ouagadougou on Monday to assess the situation, according to the UN.


An ECOWAS summit is also scheduled for Thursday in Ghana to discuss the situations in Burkina Faso and Mali, which is also under harsh economic and travel sanctions after its coup leader failed to organise elections within 18 months.

Mutinous soldiers walk outside the Guillaume Ouedraogo military camp in Ouagadougou (AP)

Talks with Burkina Faso’s new junta leader, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, and ECOWAS began on Saturday when a West African military delegation arrived.

The junta said Mr Kabore had not adequately addressed extremist violence in Burkina Faso, which has killed thousands and displaced more than 1.5 million people.

Speaking to the nation last week for the first time since seizing power, Lt Col Damiba said he was going to bring security and order back and unite the country, but warned that betrayal would not be tolerated by the new regime.

The junta announced Lt Col Damiba as the country’s new president on Monday afternoon.

Reading an announcement on state television, junta spokesman Lt Col Cyprien Kabore also said the head of the intelligence unit and the army’s chief of staff had been fired – but did not say who was replacing them.

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