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Burkina Faso extends military rule for 5 years to 2029

FILE - Burkina Faso's military leader Ibrahim Traore is escorted by soldiers in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Oct. 2, 2022.
FILE - Burkina Faso's military leader Ibrahim Traore is escorted by soldiers in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Oct. 2, 2022.

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 organizing 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 jihadi 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.

Jihadi rebels affiliated with al Qaida 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.

Map of Burkina Faso
Map of Burkina Faso

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 Minister of Territorial Affairs Emile Zerbo, who opened the meeting on Saturday morning.

The initial charter set the transition to civilian rule at 21 months, with the deadline set to expire 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 defense 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 jihadis, 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.