State controls only 60 percent of Burkina Faso: ECOWAS mediator


The recent murder of 89 people in the northern village of Seytenga was one of the worst massacres in the country’s history.

Authorities in Burkina Faso control only 60 percent of the country and the remaining territory is beyond state control, an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediator has said.

Mahamadou Issoufou – former president of Niger and appointed by the regional bloc of 15 countries to act as mediator for Burkina Faso – did so on Saturday in Ouagadougou after talks with government military officials over the country’s timetable for a return to democratic rule.

“Today, 40 percent of the territory is outside the control of the state,” Issoufou said.

“Burkina Faso is today facing a multidimensional crisis: security, humanitarian, political and socio-economic,” he said after talks with the leader of the military government, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.

Last weekend, 89 people died in the northern village of Seytenga, one of the worst massacres in the country’s history.

“These events, very painful, prove how difficult the security situation remains,” Issoufou said.

Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been mired in an escalating wave of violence blamed on rebel fighters affiliated with both al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) group.

The violence has claimed more than 2,000 lives and forced 1.9 million people to flee their homes.

The country’s new military rulers, who took power in January, say elections will be held in three years’ time and have called on the security situation – the country is fighting a rebel movement – to justify the postponement.

When Damiba overthrew elected president Roch Marc Christian Kabore, he accused the president of failing to adequately address rebel violence, saying that restoring security would be his top priority.

But the bloodshed continued.

ECOWAS suspended Burkina after the coup and threatened punitive action unless military rulers accelerate the process of restoring democracy.

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