Canada suspends Burkina aid after army grabs power

The Mogho Naba (L), the "king" of Burkina Faso's leading Mossi tribe, greets Burkina Faso's army-appointed leader, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, in the royal courtyard in Ouagadougou on November 4, 2014 (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo) (AFP)

Ottawa (AFP) - Canada suspended development assistance to Burkina Faso on Tuesday after the West African country's military seized power in one of the world's poorest nations.

"Given the current climate, it is not possible to provide development assistance dollars directly to the government of Burkina Faso and ensure they are spent effectively and as intended," International Development Minister Christian Paradis said in a statement.

Paradis said he has also ordered a review of other aid programs currently operating in the country through 20 non-governmental organizations.

Canada provided Can$40.76 million (US$35.6 million) in aid between 2012 and 2013, according to the latest available government figures, for agriculture, entrepreneurship, women's rights, technical training and health.

Funding would be restored, said Paradis, when Ottawa is "satisfied that a legitimate and accountable civil authority has been re-established."

He urged military leaders now in control to set a timetable for a full return to democratically-elected authorities.

Burkina Faso's military had stepped into a power vacuum left by president Blaise Compaore, who was forced to resign in the wake of violent street demonstrations over his 27-year-rule.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters, furious at plans to extend Compaore's rule in the impoverished landlocked country, had massed on the streets of Ouagadougou, some setting the parliament and other public buildings ablaze.

Under Burkina Faso's constitution, the speaker of parliament was supposed to step in as interim head of state following the president's resignation.

But the army instead named the second-in-command of the presidential guard, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, as head of a transitional authority.