Burkina Faso president says security priority after swearing-in

Roch Marc Christian Kabore embarks on second and final five-year term, promising to win fight against armed groups.

Kabore, first elected in 2015, won 57.7 percent of the vote on November 22 [File: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters]

Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore has promised to make security his priority after he took the helm of the troubled Sahel country for a second term.

“I intend to win the wager of providing security and stability for our country and ensure displaced people return to their homes,” the 63-year-old said after taking the oath of office at a sports stadium in the capital Ouagadougou before 10 African heads of state and 1,200 guests.

Kabore acknowledged the scale of damage wrought by armed groups, who extended their campaign from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

At least 1,200 people have been killed and a million of Burkina Faso’s population of 20.5 million have fled their homes. Swathes of the country are out of the government’s control.

“These last five years, our country has been targeted by armed terrorist groups, whose actions have disrupted our search for development, our social unity and our communal life,” Kabore said.

He vowed to launch a “broad consultation” in the coming months over “setting down ways towards national conciliation”.

It would take into account “political, economic and blood crimes that from [independence from France in] 1960 to this very day have continued to poison relationships”.

Kabore, first elected in 2015, won 57.7 percent of the vote on November 22.

His inauguration was attended by several opposition candidates who initially claimed the vote was flawed before acknowledging Kabore’s victory.

They included opposition leader Eddie Komboigo, head of former President Blaise Compaore’s party.

Compaore was removed from office in 2014 following a public revolt.

He took refuge in Ivory Coast but remains subject to an arrest warrant issued under an investigation into the assassination of charismatic leader Thomas Sankara in 1987.

Source: AFP