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Burkina Faso: ECOWAS worried over 3 years transition arrangement by military junta

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed worry over the three-year transition period announced by the leader of the military junta in Burkina Faso, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.

Slamreportafrica reported two weeks ago that Burkina Faso’s ruling junta, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), had signed a charter setting a three-year transition period before the country held elections.

A ministerial delegation met with Burkina Faso’s Lieutenant Colonel Damiba on Thursday to communicate concerns of the regional bloc.

“ECOWAS is a bit worried about the duration of the transition. But the authorities have explained the reasons behind the decision of these 36 months,” including “the security situation” in the country, said Ghana’s foreign minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who led a delegation to Ouagadougou on Thursday.
Burkina Faso has been caught up in a spiral of violence since 2015 attributed to jihadist movements, affiliated to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which have killed more than 2,000 people in the country and forced at least 1.7 million to flee their homes.

“ECOWAS is asking that the transitional government provide a clear roadmap of its activities for the next 36 months,” she added.

“The problems affecting Burkina Faso are also our problems; it is not at this time when Burkina has needs that we will abandon it. Yes, Burkina is suspended from ECOWAS but it is still a member and we will continue to work together to bring normality to this great country,” the Ghanaian minister said.

The coup that brought the current junta into power in Burkina Faso was launched on 23 January 2022 when gunfire erupted in front of the presidential residence in the Burkinabé capital Ouagadougou and several military barracks around the city.

The delegation also met the overthrown president, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, who has been under house arrest since the putsch and whose release it is calling for. We had a good discussion, he is in good spirits,” said Shirley Ayorkor.

Burkina Faso is a member of the United Nations, La Francophonie and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. It is currently suspended from ECOWAS and the African Union.

Politics

UN appoints Nigeria’s Ahonsi as its Türkiye resident coordinator

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Babatunde Ahonsi of Nigeria has been appointed as the United Nations resident coordinator in Türkiye, pending the approval of his host government.

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, announced the appointment of the decades-long experienced diplomat on Saturday.

Ahonsi has experience in international development acquired within and outside the UN, among which was his role as Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone where he coordinated and facilitated the UN’s operational activities for development in the country.

“He has led the UN country team and ensured system-wide accountability on the ground for the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.

“He has also coordinated UN support to Sierra Leone in its implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the UN Secretary General’s Prevention Agenda.

“Prior to this, he served UN Resident Coordinator a.i. in China from June-September 2020.

“In addition, he served as UNFPA Representative in China/Country Director for Mongolia from January 2017 to June 2020, and as UNFPA Representative in Ghana from 2014-2016.

“Between 1997 and 2014, he held senior management positions with the Ford Foundation (covering West Africa) and Population Council (covering Nigeria) overseeing reproductive health, women’s empowerment, and youth development programmes and initiatives. He had also lectured at federal universities in Ilorin, Calabar, and Lagos, Nigeria during the 1980s and 1990s”, the UN said.

Since joining the UN in October 1960, Nigeria and Nigerians have played key roles in the global body. In 2013, Nigeria contributed the fifth largest number of peacekeepers to the United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Nigeria most recently had a temporary seat on the UN Security Council for two years, from 2014 to 2015.

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UN Security Council lifts 30-year-old arms ban on Somalia 

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The UN Security Council (UNSC) has ended 31 years of armed restrictions on Somalia’s government forces, which prevented the country from upgrading its military.

The lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia allows the country to freely buy new weapons, as the council in New York voted 14-1 to do so, with France abstaining. Restrictions on the transfer of weapons or supplies to terrorists affiliated with Al Shabaab remain.

According to the council, the federal government may order and buy weapons from any legitimate retailer in the world. However, for the UN Sanctions Committee on Somalia to verify the weapons, it must provide a list of them.

A member of the council, China, faulted this conditional approval, telling the session that Somalia was being made to comply with a rule that many in the West were disobeying.

Somalia has been constrained by this UN decision amidst the country’s quest for lasting peace in the face of internal wranglings and terrorist activities. In September, Somalia asked the UN to pause a planned drawdown of 3,000 African Union peacekeepers for three months to allow its security forces time to regroup after a militant attack forced them to withdraw from several recently captured towns.

Somalia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Abukar Osman, who addressed the Council, commended the move and noted that the lifting of the embargo would enable his government to equip the forces.

“It allows us to confront security threats, including those posed by Al Shabaab,” he said in a briefing to the Council, promising that his country would also reform the management of weapons to ensure they did not fall in the wrong hands.

In his official reaction, Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, stressed that “from now on, our country is free to purchase any sort of weapon we want from the world. Weapons in government hands will not pose a threat to our people and the world”.

“This decision comes at a very crucial time as a nation and people since we are in a war to eliminate Kharijites (Al Shabaab) from the country,” the National Intelligence and Security Agency said in a statement.

“It comes at a time when efforts are ongoing to form an army capable of taking on the general security responsibility of the country”, it added.

In January 1992, the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Somalia. In February 2007, the embargo was amended to allow arms supplies to Somali Government Forces, but maintained a ban on sales to the country’s Islamist militants.

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