News BlogWest Africa - Sahel

In Burkina, the storm. EU calls for calm

The maintenance in power of Blaise Compaoré, is today contested
Blaise Compaoré's continued power is today contested

(BRUSSELS2) After the strong violence which marked the day in Ouagadougou and throughout the country, leaving around thirty dead according to the opposition, the European Union reacted, Thursday evening (October 30), through the words of Catherine Ashton, affirming “ follow current events very closely ».

The EU says to itself “ very concerned (*) by the current situation and reports of casualties following the violent protests ».

The European Union ready to facilitate dialogue

And the European Union calls for calm and respect by the armed forces for civilian institutions.

« Now that the proposed law on the revision of the Constitution has been withdrawn, we call for a sense of responsibility of all political forces, the army and republican institutions as well as the people of Burkina Faso to build together a new future for the country in a peaceful manner and in compliance with democratic principles and the Constitution. »

Europe has shown itself willing to do more.

“The European Union is ready to intervene to facilitate this process. »

A coup

This position came just when the chief of staff of the Burkinabe army declared to suspend democratic structures (dissolution of the assembly) and to establish transitional structures promising a return to constitutional order within 12 months. Which looks like a real “coup d’état”. However, the situation is quite confused in Ouagadougou. The successive declarations of President Compaoré and the armies are contradictory, in particular on the establishment of a state of siege. But if this situation were to persist, the European Union could begin the procedure for suspending cooperation agreements (ACP), provided for in the event of democratic failure and a military coup.

It missed only this

In a sub-Saharan Africa, of the Sahel, ready for all movements, Burkina Faso represented until now a certain island of stability. Mali is still grappling with a rebel guerrilla in the north of the country, at the confluence of Tuareg autonomist and transnational jihadist movements, as the latest incidents where a French soldier died have proven (Read: Violent clash between the Barkhane force and jihadists in northern Mali. 1 soldier killed). Niger is convalescing. Southern Libya is an area out of control. The presence of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria is not really under control and is spilling over into northern Cameroon. A little further east, the Central African Republic is still in an unstable state, etc. Brief. The street revolt followed by a takeover by the army in Ouagadougou comes at a bad time.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(*) What constitutes level 2 on the scale of European concern

(Update 31.10 12 p.m.) Details given by the Commission on the respect of republican institutions by the army (which did not appear in the first version of the European reaction given Thursday evening)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).