OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Burkina Faso’s former president Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who has been under strict house arrest since being ousted in a coup in January, has been allowed to return to his personal home, according to the ruling military junta.
Following three weeks of consultations across the country, it was decided that Kabore could go back to his residence in the capital, Ouagadougou, which will be guarded by government security, junta spokesman Wendkouni Joel Lionel Bilgo said in a statement.
It’s unclear which of his several houses Kabore is in and it appears he remains under arrest. Kabore is allowed to see family and close friends and to use his phone but he isn’t permitted to freely move outside his home, two members of the ruling junta told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Last month the military junta announced that it intends to stay in power for three years before holding elections and returning Burkina Faso to civilian, democratic rule. The junta said it is necessary for the military to hold power for that period in order to secure the country from jihadi violence in which thousands have been killed and nearly 2 million people displaced.
The 15-nation West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS has expressed its concern over the junta’s three-year transition period and demanded that by April 25 the military rulers propose a shorter time to elections or the regional group will impose economic and financial sanctions, according to a statement by ECOWAS in March.
Conflict analysts say the decision to move Kabore and give him a bit more freedom might signify that the junta is trying to reduce worries about its control of the country. “It might be showcasing a more lenient approach to stem the potential for a civilian outcry over it seizing power,” said Laith Alkhouri, CEO of Intelonyx Intelligence Advisory, which provides intelligence analysis. “It might also signify that back door negotiations are taking place to contain the Kabore support base and bring it to its side,” he said.