Africa

Burkina Faso coup: E.U. threatens consequences

Published : January 27, 2022 16:44 IST

The military junta in Burkina Faso announced the coup on state television. Photo: Radio Télévision du Burkina/AFP

The E.U. has said it could hit Burkinabe coup leaders with sanctions if "constitutional order" is not restored.

E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell warned of new punitive measures against Burkina Faso on January 26 after a military junta took control of the West African country earlier this week.

What did Borrell say?

"If constitutional order is not restored, there will be immediate consequences for our partnership with the country," Borrell said in remarks aimed at "elements of the armed forces." The E.U. has called for the release of detained President Roch Kabore. The top E.U. diplomat suggested that the 27-member bloc could withdraw financial aid from Burkina Faso. Another option could be imposing new sanctions on coup leaders. Borrell was expected to meet diplomats from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso in Brussels on January 26 in a closed-door session, but the talks were postponed.

Meanwhile, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced on January 26 that it would hold an emergency virtual meeting on January 28 to discuss the coup. ECOWAS, along with the African Union, has condemned the military takeover in Burkina Faso.

Why did the military take control?

Kabore was detained amid popular anger over the government's handling of Islamic extremists. Protesters have taken to the streets in recent months demanding Kabore step down from his role. Attacks by groups linked to al-Qaeda and the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) have displaced over 1.5 million people within Burkina Faso by the end of 2021. Over 2,000 people in the West African country were killed by Islamist attacks last year. The armed forces cited the deterioration of Burkina Faso's security situation as a reason behind the coup.

A source in Kabore's People's Movement for Progress (MPP) Party told French news agency AFP on January 26 that the president was "physically well," saying he was in a "presidential villa under house arrest." The MPP earlier claimed there was an "aborted assassination attempt" against Kabore. Kabore, who is 64-years-old, took office in 2015 after an uprising against former leader Blaise Compaore. Two other countries in West Africa, Mali and Guinea, were also taken over by elements of the military within the last year and a half.

wd/msh (AP, AFP)