Burkina Faso’s ruling military junta defended its plans to take three years to return to constitutional rule on Thursday, despite pressure from West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS to hold elections sooner.
ECOWAS leaders warned juntas in Burkina Faso and Guinea last month that they had until April 25 to explain how and when they would return power to civilians in a reasonable timeframe or face immediate sanctions.
Burkina Faso’s military government, which has been in power since a January putsch, previously stated that it would take 36 months to restore democracy, citing security concerns caused by an Islamist insurgency.
It missed the April 25 deadline and requested an extension from ECOWAS.
“Everything will depend on the situation on the ground, and ECOWAS heads of state are well aware of this,” interim foreign affairs minister Olivia Rouamba told a press conference on Thursday.