In an unprecedented move, Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré yesterday appeared on national TV to announce that the country’s prime minister, Paul Kaba Thieba, and his 30-member Cabinet had resigned with immediate effect.
Kaboré made no mention of the reasons behind the mass exodus.
However, Thieba and his Cabinet had been facing growing pressure over the rising number of kidnappings and jihadist attacks in the small, poor, landlocked West African country.
This followed the abduction of a Canadian woman, Edith Blais, and an Italian man, Luca Tacchetto, in mid-December as well as the more recent kidnapping by suspected jihadists of Canadian geologist Kirk Woodman, who was found dead at a remote gold mine in the north-east of the country.
These recent high-profile disappearances of foreign nationals had led to direct calls for Thieba to resign, along with his defence and security ministers.
Thieba, a former economist, had been in power since January 2016, when he was handpicked by Kaboré to serve as prime minister.
In his statement, Kaboré expressed his gratitude for their service and revealed that he would be forming a new government soon.
Burkina Faso has in recent times seen a surge in Islamist militant activity. There have been reports of deadly attacks on the French embassy and a café in the country’s capital, Ouagadougou, famous for its biennial film festival.
Several northern provinces in its border regions have been under a state of emergency since December 31 as a result.