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Burkina Faso President Resigns After Three Days of Protests

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After three days of protests, on Friday, Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore formally announced his resignation, with the country’s armed forces chief General Honore Traore announcing that he has taken charge of the West African country.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Mr Compaore disclosed that the presidency was now vacant, and urged that the country hold elections within 90 days. Military chief General Honore Traore has since indicated that he has taken over as head of state. The announcement by Mr Compaore came less than twenty-four hours after the dissolution of parliament and the declaration of a state of emergency.

Following days of protests in Ouagadougou, which turned violent on Thursday as protesters stormed Parliament, setting fire to it and several official and unofficial buildings, the country’s army General announced early Thursday evening the creation of a transitional government after declaring the dissolution of parliament and imposing a night curfew. Mr Compaore announced late Thursday that he had agreed to not seek another term, but that he would remain in power until a transitional government had completed its work in 2015. The opposition however continued its demands that he resign, with its leader, Zephirin Diabre, calling on protesters to occupy public spaces in order to force the president to resign. On Friday, protesters occupied Ouagadougou’s Place de la Nation as well as the main army headquarters. Although in the early hours of Friday, Mr Compaore had restated his position that he would not resign, by the afternoon it was clear that the president no longer had a choice.

Mr Compaore’s statement, which was read on local television, disclosed, “in order to preserve the democratic gains, as well as social peace. I declare a power vacuum to allow the establishment of a transition leading to free and fair elections within a maximum of 90 days. “ Lieutenant-Colonel Issaac Zida also made the announcement to protesters at the Place de la Nation, which was greeted with cheers from the crowds.

While the current whereabouts of the president remain unclear, diplomatic sources have reported that a heavily armed convoy, believed to be carrying Burkina Faso’s now–former president Blaise Compaore was seen travelling towards the southern town of Po, near the border with Ghana.

Although MS Risk expects that order will be restored across the country quickly, all travellers currently in Burkina Faso should be aware of the following:

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