Activists walk from Bamako to Ouagadougou to promote states' federation

HOUNDE, Burkina Faso, March 21 (Reuters) - A small group of activists have been walking from Mali's capital Bamako to Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou to express their support for a federation between the two West African states.

The group are due to arrive in Ouagadougou on Tuesday where they will end their march at the Thomas Sankara memorial, a tribute to the former president and noted pan-Africanist.

The prime ministers of Mali and Burkina Faso said last month they would examine the idea of creating a federation. It is not clear exactly what that would entail.

The two countries share a long border and face similar challenges. They are both ruled by military juntas which ousted their democratic governments in the last two years, largely out of frustration at worsening insecurity as Islamist militants step up attacks.

Holding the flags of both countries and the African Union, the group of about a dozen men and women walked in single file last week on the side of a road near Hounde, in western Burkina Faso, as they neared the finish line of a trek of more than 860 km (535 miles).

"It is for us today to push our governments, our institutions, our people to move towards a federation because we believe that only the federation can be the global and definitive solution for Africa," said Souleymane Diouf Diallo, spokesperson for the group, calling itself "The walkers for African unity".

"We the African people want there to be a federation between Mali and Burkina Faso and why not Guinea, Senegal, Ghana later," he said.

They left Bamako on Feb. 27.

Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Alison Williams

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.