African Union suspends Burkina Faso after military coup

The coup in Burkina Faso was the fourth in the region in 18 months

By Reuters

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Published: Mon 31 Jan 2022, 10:15 PM

The African Union has suspended Burkina Faso from all its activities in response to last week’s military coup, effective until constitutional order is restored, the AU said on Monday.

Burkina Faso had already been suspended from the West African regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States, though ECOWAS stopped short of imposing sanctions after the January 24 coup that ousted President Roch Kabore.

An ECOWAS delegation along with a United Nations envoy were due to visit Burkina Faso on Monday to meet with the coup leaders before deciding on next steps.

“Council decides in line with the relevant AU instruments ... to suspend the participation of Burkina Faso in all AU activities until the effective restoration of constitutional order in the country,” the AU Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department said in a Twitter post.

The AU suspended two other West African members, Mali and Guinea, after their own military takeovers last year. The coup in Burkina Faso was the fourth in the region in 18 months.

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

The putschists led by Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, who call themselves the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), issued a preliminary charter on Monday laying out basic rights and establishing the MPSR as the central authority while a transitional government is put in place.


In a statement read on national television, the MPSR declared Damiba the president of Burkina Faso and head of the armed forces, and removed the army chief of staff and the head of the national intelligence agency from their posts.

The constitution, which the officers suspended when they seized power, has been re-instated except for any parts that contradict the new charter, the statement said.

In a separate statement the Burkinabe army said it had killed 163 Islamist militants in an operation that ran from January 15 to January 23, including about 60 in joint manoeuvres with the French counter-terrorism force Barkhane.

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