Burkina leader fine-tunes govt to face jihadist threat

2017-02-21 19:00
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Ouagadougou - Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore has given government ministers specific responsibility for security and defence in a reshuffle officially announced on state television.

National security will be separated from other home affairs in the new government of the west African country, which since 2015 has been vulnerable to attacks by jihadists in the Sahel region.

The portfolio for defence and armed forces veterans, traditionally held by the head of state, was handed to Jean Claude Bouda, a politician close to Kabore previously in charge of youth, said the announcement late on Monday.

The ministry of security, territorial administration and decentralisation was split in two.

Simon Compaore, ex-mayor of the capital Ouagadougou and a top official in the ruling People's Movement for Progress, becomes wholly responsible for national security while the other two portfolios have been handed to newcomer Simeon Sawadogo.

Islamist gunmen on January 15, 2016 stormed two hotels and a cafe and bar in Ouagadougou frequented by Westerners, who were prime targets among the 30 people killed.

More than 50 others were wounded in the raids, which ended with a counter-attack the next day by government forces.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying the gunmen were from the Al-Murabitoun group of Algerian extremist Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

The new Burkinabe government has 32 members including five new ministers, compared with 30 members in the previous team appointed by Kabore in January last year.

Ministers in the key posts of foreign affairs, economy and finance, justice and energy all kept their portfolios, but Energy Minister Alpha Oumar Dissa also saw his ministry divided, with responsibility for the mining sector going to newcomer Oumarou Idani.

Read more on:    burkina faso  |  west africa

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