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Ekeomah Atuonwu

According to government spokesman Lionel Bilgo, a 16-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation has been in Ouagadougou since Tuesday, May 17 to continue its analysis of the national situation.

This delegation, led by Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway and ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, is “composed of experts in the military and security, humanitarian, and political fields,” according to Bilgo.

“…we hope to be able to provide all the elements necessary for ECOWAS experts to assess the national situation,” he added.

Burkina Faso has been suspended from ECOWAS since the late January coup that brought Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba to power.

The junta has set a three-year transition period before elections, but ECOWAS wants it shortened.

It had asked Burkina Faso at the end of March for a new “reasonable” transition timetable by April 25, but Ouagadougou requested more time.

Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, President of Burkina Faso /AFP/

The ruling junta then requested an ECOWAS “military, political, and humanitarian” mission to assess the national situation before deciding whether to shorten the transition period.

“We cannot be delayed until military, political, and humanitarian evaluation missions arrive on the ground to assess the situation we are in,” said Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister, Olivia Rouamba.

Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been caught up in a spiral of violence attributed to armed jihadist movements affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which has left more than 2,000 people dead and 1.8 million displaced.

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President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Jean-Claude Kassi Brou (R) makes his way to the airport after addressing the press in Ouagadougou on January 31, 2022. – Burkina Faso’s military junta said on January 31, 2022, it had restored the constitution a week after taking power and appointed the coup’s leader as head of state for a transitional period. On January 24, 2022 a coup was declared in Burkina Faso with new strong man and head of the Junta, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba ousting former President, Roch Marc Christian Kabore. Ecowas went on to suspend them in the aftermath of the coup. (Photo by JOHN WESSELS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN WESSELS/AFP via Getty Images)