Burkinabe President Kaboré promises army reform as protests loom

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Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore speaks during celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France , November 12, 2021. Julien de Rosa / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

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OUAGADOUGOU, Nov.26 (Reuters) – Burkina Faso President Roch Kaboré pledged to end the “dysfunction” within the military in a speech Thursday evening, as the country braced for further protests against worsening insecurity.

Three Burkinabè soldiers died and 11 militants were killed in an attack on troops on Wednesday, the latest of three attacks since November 14 that killed more than 60 security forces and more than a dozen civilians.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the capital Ouagadougou last week, demanding Kaboré’s resignation for failing to subdue militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State who led a four-year insurgency.

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Opponents urged people to stage further protests on Saturday and schools were closed across the country in anticipation of unrest.

“We must put an end to the unacceptable dysfunctions which undermine the morale of our combat troops and hamper their ability to fight armed terrorist groups,” Kabore said in a televised address.

He said disciplinary action would follow an investigation into the worst recent attack on troops, at a gendarmerie station in Inata, where staff have reportedly been running out of food for weeks. Read more

He also pledged to launch an anti-corruption campaign and said military leaders needed to be closer to troops on the ground.

The UN Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel said on Thursday the situation in Burkina Faso was worrying, particularly in a region that has seen three military takeovers since the start of the year. .

“I appeal to the wisdom of civil society and other actors to prevent a country like Burkina (…) from falling into a crisis like what is happening elsewhere,” said Mahamat Saleh Annadif at the meeting. ‘a press conference.

Part of the anger in Burkina Faso last week was directed against the former colonial power, France, which deployed thousands of troops to the Sahel region of West Africa to fight the militants. Read more

Hundreds of people in the town of Kaya gathered over the weekend to block a convoy of French logistics and armored vehicles en route to neighboring Niger. The convoy has still not been able to leave Burkina Faso.

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Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga Additional reporting by Aaron Ross in Dakar; Written by Bate Felix and Nellie Peyton, edited by Bernadette Baum, Frances Kerry and Nick Zieminski

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