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PoliticsBurkina Faso

Burkina Faso: Elections not a 'priority,' junta leader says

September 30, 2023

Burkina Faso junta leader Ibrahim Traore, who came to power in a 2022 coup, said the country's priority was "security." The military leadership had previously promised presidential elections by July 2024.

Burkina Faso military leader Ibrahim Traore speaks during meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Strel'na outside Saint Petersburg
Burkina Faso military leader Ibrahim Traore says that elections are not a 'priority' for the juntaImage: Alexey Danichev/AFP

Elections in Burkina Faso are not a "priority," junta leader Ibrahim Traore said on Friday.

Traore had earlier promised a return to democracy with presidential elections by July 2024.

Hundreds of the leader's supporters gathered in Ouagadougou on Friday — the first anniversary of the coup that brought the interim president to power.

"It's not a priority, I'll tell you that clearly, it's security that's the priority," Traore told reporters in comments broadcast on state television.

The military leader said he planned a "partial change" to Burkina Faso's constitution. He said the current constitution reflects "the opinion of a handful of enlightened people" and not that of the "popular masses."

Traore said security was improving and that the army had gained ground.

How did Traore come to power?

Traore seized power from a different military junta on September 30, 2022, which was Burkina Faso's second coup in eight months.

After taking power, Traore said he would take "two to three months" to improve security in the country.

Attacks by al-Qaida and the "Islamic State" terrorist groups have displaced over 2 million people and killed thousands of people in Burkina Faso.

In early September, the country sustained some of its most substantial losses in months, with over 50 soldiers and volunteer fighters killed in clashes with Islamist militants.

On Thursday, Burkina Faso said it had detained four officers a day after the junta announced it had thwarted a coup attempt. The government said it would seek to shed "all possible light on this plot."

Several states in the Sahel region have seen military coups in recent years. Earlier this month, Burkina Faso's military leadership signed a security pact with the juntas of neighboring Mali and Niger.

sdi/sms (AFP, Reuters)