Burkina Faso recalls 10 ambassadors linked to ousted leader

AFP| Updated: Mar 24, 2015, 04:17 AM IST

Burkina Faso`s interim leader Michel Kafando has recalled 10 ambassadors who were appointed by his ousted predecessor and were seen as having close ties to the old regime, the transitional authorities said Monday.

The government said some of the recalled diplomats had engaged in "political activism" while others were due to retire or had reached the end of their term abroad, according to a statement sent to AFP.

Most of the recalled diplomats had served as ministers or senior officials under former president Blaise Compaore, who stepped down last October over mass protests against his bid to extend his 27-year grip on power.

Among the recalled ambassadors is Burkina Faso`s envoy to the United Nations, a post that was once held by Kafando himself.

"From now on, the Burkinabe ambassador must keep in mind that he is representing his country and his government abroad. His role should primarily be of a diplomatic nature," the government statement read, adding that the country sought to project "a better image" and "a new face" to the outside world. 

The impoverished west African country has a total of 34 ambassadors stationed abroad. 

It has played an active role in regional diplomacy in recent years, acting as mediator in several African crises including in Togo, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Mali.

The landlocked country is currently being led by interim President Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida, a former military leader, until elections are held later this year. Both men are barred from running in the polls.

At least 24 people were killed and more than 600 were injured in the protests that led to Compoare`s overthrow.