ECOWAS Condemns Detention of Politicians, Civil Society Actors in Burkina Faso


By Biran Gaye

The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned the arrest and detention of political and civil society actors in Burkina Faso.

The regional bloc stated, in a press release issued on Sunday, its concern over reports of the arrest and detentions of personalities, including political figures and members of civil society in Burkina Faso. 

“The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has learned, with concern, the information on the arrest and detention of political figures and civil society by the transitional Authorities of Burkina Faso,” it says.

Denouncing it as ‘illegal and arbitrary requisition procedure intended to repress all freedom of expression’ in the country, ECOWAS appeals to the transitional authorities for the immediate release of all those arrested as these arrests and detentions of key state actors represent a repression of freedom of expression in the West African country. 

The press release reiterates the regional bloc’s willingness to support the transitional authorities of Burkina Faso, calling for a rapid agenda for the restoration of constitutional order. 

“The ECOWAS Commission reiterates its concern about the deterioration of the security situation in the country and reaffirms its constant availability to support the Burkinabè authorities in their efforts to restore peace and security throughout the national territory. It calls on the transitional authorities to take all urgent measures with a view to a rapid return to constitutional order,” the press release said.

The West African country has been under military rule since the coup in 2021, followed by another in 2022 which saw the straining of relations with its former colonizer France amid growing French sentiments.

For the past week, Burkina Faso has been the scene of several attacks by suspected jihadists, mainly in the north of the country, causing several dozen deaths among soldiers and civilians, security and local sources reported.

Over the past week, at least four attacks have targeted military detachments, causing considerable human losses, local sources said. On December 25, a group of heavily armed terrorists attacked the Nouna military camp in the northwest, causing several casualties among soldiers and civilians. Authorities said the attack was repelled.