Burkina Faso’s President Pledges Reforms in Face of Protests
(Bloomberg) -- Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kabore pledged to reform his government, which has come under intense pressure over an Islamist insurgency overrunning swathes of the gold-producing West African nation.
Kabore announced a reorganization of military chiefs late Thursday, even as a group of opposition and civil society movements known as the November 27 Coalition continue to demand his resignation and call for protests this weekend.
“Yes, I’ve understood your message, which invites us to shift paradigms,” he said in a statement. “It’s not by a broken thermometer that we will lower the fever.”
Last week, at least 53 people died when suspected Islamist militants attacked a military position at Inata near the northern border with Mali. The attack is so far the deadliest on the nation’s security forces since Islamist violence began five years ago.
“The failures we face are unacceptable,” Kabore said. Investigations into the attack will be through by Tuesday and action will be taken against those who are culpable, he said.
The insurgents have also struck gold-mining operations -- the country’s main source of income. In June, 160 people -- many of them informal mine workers -- were killed in an attack on a village in northern Burkina Faso. In September and October, unidentified gunmen attacked Iamgold Corp. convoys on two separate occasions.
Kabore has been in power since 2015, a year after long-serving leader Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising. His government switched off internet access for residents last weekend ahead of the planned protests.
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