Burkina Faso marks coup anniversary; Traore says amending constitution

Burkina Faso's military leader, Captain Ibrahim Traore, has said he is planning a "partial change" to the landlocked West African country's constitution, almost a year after he seized power in a coup

Speaking on state television on Friday, he said the text in the constitution in its current form reflects "the opinion of a handful of enlightened people" to the detriment of the "popular masses".

He also said that there would be no elections until the country was safe enough for everyone to vote, saying that election is not a "priority" compared to "safety."

"It's not a priority, I'll tell you that clearly, it's security that's the priority" in a country plagued by militant violence, he told reporters.

Traore's address came as hundreds of his supporters rallied in the capital on the first anniversary of the coup.

Supporters gathered at the Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou waving Burkinabe flags. Some held signs with pictures of Traore.

The rally took place days after the junta said it had thwarted a coup attempt against it, and that investigations were under way to determine who was behind the plot.

Internal instability

Traore grabbed power on Septe,ber 30 last year, ousting the leader of another coup who had overthrown president Roch Kabore eight months earlier amid a worsening security crisis fuelled by armed groups linked to Al Qaeda and Daesh.

But one year on, militant attacks still blight the African nation.

The coups were welcomed by many citizens fed up with the deadly violence and disillusioned by their government, but condemned by Western countries who see their influence waning as democracy retreats in West Africa's Sahel region.

The junta has previously committed to holding elections in July 2024 that would restore civilian rule, but Traore on Friday stressed his main priority was security.

Traore said security was improving and the army had gained ground. But the outlook is very challenging.

The decade-long insurgency has killed thousands and displaced millions of people across Burkina Faso, and neighbouring Mali and Niger.

All three are now run by military officers who took power by force since 2020.

Burkinabe forces suffered one of their heaviest losses in months in early September with over 50 soldiers and volunteer fighters killed in clashes with militants.

Despite the persistent violence, 35-year-old Traore, has won support in some quarters with his pan-Africanist, anti-French rhetoric.

He has kicked out French troops and cracked down on French media as tensions grew between Burkina Faso and its former coloniser.


Source: TRT