The Economic Community of West African States suspended Burkina Faso without sanctions following the January 24 coup.
A representative of the West African regional bloc said it would continue to work with Burkina Faso despite concerns about the military’s plan to stay in power for three years after the January coup.
The comments came on Thursday from Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, who led the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation to the Burkina capital Ouagadougou.
“The problems and problems that caused the epidemic in Burkina Faso are also our problems. It is not in a time of need for Burkina Faso that ECOWAS will give it up,” she said after meeting coup leader and interim President Paul-Henri Damiba.
Ayorkor Botchway said the agency was however concerned about the three-year period to transition back to democracy but the military leadership had explained their reasoning.
ECOWAS suspended Burkina Faso after the military ousted President Roch Kabore, but did not impose sanctions as it did on neighboring Mali and Guinea, where coups have also occurred for 18 years. past month.
The reasons behind the different approach are not entirely clear, but may be based in part on Burkina Faso’s struggle versus an uprising that has killed thousands and forced more than a million – about one in 20. – had to leave their homes since 2015.
ECOWAS has demanded the release of former President Kabore, who has been detained for nearly two months since the coup. Ayorkor Botchway said Damiba had allowed the delegation to visit him and he was in good spirits.
Burkina Faso, along with neighboring Mali and Niger, fought to counter attacks by groups linked to al-Qaeda and the armed group ISIL (ISIS) in recent years.
The growing violence has eroded confidence in democratic governments that many believe are ill-equipped to deal with the situation.