Military Announces It Will Install Transitional Government in Burkina FasoNovember 3, 2014 in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso’s military has announced that it will install a transitional government, just days after it seized power as President Blaise Compaore resigned. The move came as protesters gathered at the Place de la Nation, in Ouagadougou, protesting the military’s takeover.
Thousands of protesters gathered at the Place de la Nation Sunday, the place where demonstrators have been gathering over the past week in protest of a move by the president to amend the constitution, which would effectively enable him to stand for re-election for a third time. While protests in the early morning were relatively calm, by the afternoon, soldiers had fired in the air to disperse protesters in front of the state TV station. On the ground sources have reported that the situation in front of the state broadcaster’s headquarters became chaotic Sunday afternoon as both opposition leader Saran Sereme and former Defence Minister Kwame Longue had turned up to a rally. It is believed that both had gone there, separately, in order to announce that they could lead the transitional government. Soldiers later barricaded the Place de la Nation, which is the capital city’s main square, in a bid to disperse the crowds. Reports have indicated that at least one demonstrator was killed in Sunday’s protests. A statement released by the military late Sunday disclosed that the soldiers’ moves had been necessary to disperse protesters to “restore order.”
Following days of anti-government protests, long-time leader Blaise Compaore officially resigned late last week, with the army naming Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida as leader of a transitional government on Saturday. Thousands of protesters however gathered in Ouagadougou Sunday after the opposition called on civilians to demonstrate against the army’s move. Late Sunday evening, key opposition figures held talks with Col Zida. Those present included Zephirin Diabre, leader of the Union for Progress and Change, former Foreign Minister Ablasse Ouedraogo, ex-Prime Minister Roch Marc Christian Kabore and Benewende Sankara, leader of the Union for Rebirth – Sankarist Party. Shortly after the meeting, a military spokesman indicated that the army would put in place “a transition body…with all the components to be adopted by a broad consensus.” A statement released by the military further indicated, “power does not interest us, only the greater interest of the nation.”
Under Burkina Faso’s constitution, the president of the Senate should take over in the event that the president resigns. A presidential election should then take place within 60 – 90 days. The African Union (AU), the United States and ECOWAS, the regional economic bloc, have all condemned the military takeover. The UN’s West Africa envoy Mohamed Ibn Chambas has stated that the military must allow a civilian transfer of power, warning that sanctions were a possibility if this did not occur.
While the army has announced that it will hand over power to a transitional body, the situation remains fluid and it is currently unclear when order will be restored. MS Risk advises all travellers in Burkina Faso to be aware of the following:
- A curfew may be imposed later today as attempts are made to restore order. If a curfew is announced, MS Risk advises all travellers to adhere to the curfew hours.
- Protests will likely be called by the opposition over the coming days in a bid to place further pressure on the army to allow a civilian transfer of power. Security forces will likely be deployed across the capital city, especially at government buildings, state TV headquarters and the army’s headquarters. MS Risk advises all travellers to avoid these areas of the capital city and to be aware of your surroundings at all times. We also advise that you stay away from demonstrations and protests as they may turn violent with minimal notice.
- Although Ouagadougou International Airport is currently open, with officials indicating that services should return to normal within the next 24 – 48 hours, given the new wave of demonstrations, officials may opt to close the airport or reduce service in the coming days.
- The government may impose restrictions on travel over the coming days, and may set up roadblocks across the country. You should be aware that illegal roadblocks may also be set up.
- There is a potential for reduced availability in stores and petrol stations while any supply chain interruptions are sorted.
For up to date information on the current situation in Burkina Faso, follow us on @MSRisk_Security or visit our website: www.msrisk.com