ECOWAS meets on Burkina Faso coup next week

Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba head of Burkina Faso junta

Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba head of Burkina Faso junta

Heads of ECOWAS member states will reconvene for another summit in Ghana’s capital Accra on Feb. 3 to discuss the latest coup in Burkina Faso.

The meeting will deliberate on the findings of regional defence chiefs and ministers.

A delegation of ECOWAS defence chiefs will travel to Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou on Saturday, followed by a ministerial mission a few days later, the statement said.

ECOWAS on Friday suspended Burkina Faso from its governing bodies over this week’s military coup but stopped short of imposing any sanctions.

Burkina Faso’s army overthrew President Roch Kabore on Monday, presenting the latest test to the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has struggled to mount an effective response to a series of coups in the region over the past 18 months.

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ECOWAS and its international allies have condemned the coup in Burkina Faso, which they fear could further destabilise a country beset by Islamist violence, but find themselves with limited leverage.

The bloc’s decision to not sanction Burkina Faso contrasted with its response to coups in Mali and Guinea, with which ECOWAS member states closed borders and imposed some economic sanctions after military takeovers in May and September.

ECOWAS sanctions on the juntas in Mali and Guinea have done little to sway their behaviour, however, nor did they deter the latest coup.

The bloc could still choose to sanction Burkina Faso when members reconvene next week.

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