The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended Burkina Faso in the aftermath of a military coup, making it the third member nation to be punished for a military takeover in only 18 months.
The announcement came several days after mutinous soldiers forced democratically elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to resign.
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The soldiers went on state television to announce their military takeover of the country, which they said was under siege from armed groups. The military rulers said Kabore failed to stem the violence that had killed thousands during his time in power.
West African leaders met virtually yesterday to discuss the Burkina Faso coup, and a delegation was expected to travel to the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou, in the coming days.
Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the current ECOWAS chairman, called the recent spate of coups in West Africa “a direct violation of our democratic tenets”.
“The rest of the world is looking up to us to be firm on this matter,” he said.
A mission of ECOWAS chiefs of staff would fly to Burkina Faso today followed on Monday by ministerial-level envoys.
The leaders would meet again on February 3 in Accra to assess the outcome of these missions and see whether additional sanctions should be imposed along with suspension, a summit participant told the AFP news agency.
At the virtual summit lasting about three hours, the ECOWAS leaders also called for Kabore and other detained leaders to be released.