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Ablasse Ouedraogo: Burkina Faso’s Opposition Leader Goes Missing

Burkina Faso’s opposition leader Ablasse Ouedraogo speaks during a signature of a transition charter at the Maison du Peuple in Ouagadougou on November 16, 2014. Burkina Faso scrambled to pick an interim president ahead of an African Union sanctions deadline after the army seized power following the ouster of longtime ruler Blaise Compaore. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo by AFP)

The leader of the opposition in Burkina Faso, who was once the country’s foreign minister, vanished from his home three days ago after being claimed by police, according to a statement released by his party on Wednesday.

In addition to her role as foreign minister, Ablasse Ouedraogo was the World Trade Organization’s deputy director general and had roles at the African Development Bank.

He has been critical of the military administration that has controlled Burkina Faso since a coup in September 2022 and is currently the leader of the opposition party Le Faso Autrement.

The 70-year-old Ouedraogo was drafted by the Burkina Faso military in early November with the intention of sending him to the front lines to help in “the fight against terrorism” in the nation, where a jihadist insurgency has been raging for years.

His political party at the time denounced the action as retaliation for Ouedraogo’s critique of the nation’s leaders.

Human Rights Watch said in November that the military had enlisted about twelve dissidents to fight alongside militants.

According to a statement issued by Le Faso Autrement on Tuesday, Ouedraogo “was taken away by individuals who presented themselves as members of the national police at his house in Ouagadougou” on Sunday evening.

The party demanded Ouedraogo’s “immediate release without conditions” after learning of his whereabouts and failing to get in touch with him.

Ouedraogo served as foreign minister under President Blaise Compaore in 1994-1999.

He criticized the junta’s “restrictions on individual and collective liberty, muzzling of the press,” and “decline of democracy” in an open letter that was released at the beginning of October.

Under the leadership of Captain Ibrahim Traore, the military took control of the former French colony in 2022, claiming ineffective attempts to put an end to a jihadist insurgency that began in 2015 when an uprising by extremists with ties to Al-Qaeda broke out from neighboring Mali.

The “growing use of targeted forced conscriptions, shrinking civic space, and restrictions on political parties” were issues that the US State Department raised concern about in December.

 

Written by PH

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