There have been celebrations in the West Africa state of Upper Volta to mark the 17th anniversary of the foundation of the country's armed forces.
There have been celebrations in the West Africa state of Upper Volta to mark the 17th anniversary of the foundation of the country's armed forces. In the capital, Ouagadougou, President Aboubacar Sangoule Lamizana watched a parade and marchpast by the armed forces.
SYNOPSIS: President Lamizana came to power in the former French colony in 1966. In March he was re-elected for a further five year term after the country's first democratic presidential election in twelve years. Defence Minister, Francois Bouda, accompanied the President as he reviewed lines of troops.
President Lamizana has recently returned from Bamako, capital of Mali, where he attended a meeting of the Economic Community of West Africa.
Mr. Bouda became Defence Minister in July. He congratulated the troops for their past efforts, and said they had an important role in improving agriculture and transport in Upper Volta. He concluded by expressing the Government's confidence in the ability of the armed forces.
Upper Volta became independent in 1960, and the armed forces have always played an important role in the development of the country. They have a strength of eight thousand. A paramilitary force numbers nearly two thousand. Military service for the men in the population of six and half million is compulsory, and lasts eighteen months. Army engineers are now preparing to build dams and channels to aid irrigation in the drought-hit northern region of Sahel. The drought has crippled the former farmlands of Upper Volta.