Burkina Faso military rule extended for five yearsSat, 25 May 2024 20:12:31 GMT

Burkina Faso’s military regime, in power since a 2022 coup, will extend its rule for five years under an accord adopted during national consultations on Saturday, the talks’ chairman said.”The duration of the transition is fixed at 60 months from July 2, 2024,” Colonel Moussa Diallo, chairman of the organising committee of the national dialogue process, said after the talks.He added that coup leader and acting president Ibrahim Traore could run in any elections at the end of the transition period.What was supposed to be a two-day national dialogue began earlier Saturday, ostensibly to chart a way back to civilian rule for the West African nation beset by jihadist violence.The army has governed Burkina Faso since 2022, carrying out two coups that it said were justified in large part by the persistent insecurity.Jihadist rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group have waged a grinding insurgency since 2015 that has killed thousands and displaced millions.An initial national dialogue had resulted in a charter that installed Traore as president and put in place a government and a legislative assembly.Under the new charter, quotas will no longer be used to assign seats in the assembly to members of traditional parties. Instead, “patriotism” will be the only criteria for selecting deputies.”You have just rewritten a new page in the history of our country,” said the Minister of Territorial Affairs, Emile Zerbo, who opened the meeting on Saturday morning.- ‘Strategic vision’ -The initial charter had set the duration of the transition to civilian rule at 21 months, with the deadline due to expire on July 1.But Traore had repeatedly warned that holding elections would be difficult given the perilous security situation.The new charter also calls for a new body called the “Korag” to “monitor and control the implementation of the country’s strategic vision in all areas and through all means”. Its composition and operations are at the discretion of the president.Civil society representatives, the security and defence forces and lawmakers in the transitional assembly took part in the weekend talks, which most political parties boycotted.Human rights groups have accused Burkina Faso’s junta leaders of abuses against civilians during their military campaigns against jihadists, and of silencing media and opposition leaders. After taking power, the coup leaders expelled French troops and diplomats, and have instead turned to Russia for military assistance.