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Burkina Body to Bring Back Civilian Rule

Burkina Faso junta leader, Paul Henry Damiba receiving Alkassoum Indatou (in white), Defense minister of Niger, at the presidential palace in Ouagadougou. Taken 8.22.2022

Burkina Faso's junta leader on Friday created a new administrative body to oversee the country's planned two-year transition back to civilian rule.

President Paul-Henri Damiba Sandaogo said he would head the 40-member council, which would be made up of military personnel, diplomats and members of civil society of his choosing.

It will be tasked with "defining the broad lines of state policy in matters of peace, stability and national security", Damiba said, calling for "a new type of governance".

"The suggestions you make will be a compass to guide the transition," he added, addressing members.

The body -- whose name translates as the Transition Advisory and Monitoring Council -- is to work until the end of 2024, six months after a regional deadline for the country's return to democracy.

Damiba seized power in January, after growing unrest over elected president Roch Marc Christian Kabore's failure to quell a long-running jihadist insurgency.

The military junta in March installed the National Transition Council, a legislative body to pass laws until a return to civilian rule.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed in early July to allow Burkina Faso two years to transition back to democracy.

The jihadist violence in the landlocked Sahel state has claimed thousands of lives and forced almost two million people to flee their homes since 2015.

Attacks have increased since the start of the year, despite the junta's vow to make security its top priority.