Burkina Faso President Resigns After Three Days of ProtestsOctober 31, 2014 in Burkina Faso
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:
- Curfew’s may be imposed over the following days as order is restored. If this is the case, MS Risk advises all travellers to adhere to the curfew hours.
- There is a likelihood of increased military and police presence across the country, especially in the capital city. Security forces will likely be deployed to all government buildings, with an increased military presence at the army’s headquarters.
- Demonstrations celebrating the president’s resignation may occur over the coming days, particularly in Ouagadougou. MS Risk advises all travellers to avoid large gatherings and demonstrations as they may turn violent with minimal notice.
- 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.
- With Ouagadougou airport closed on Thursday 30 October, continued limited air carrier services are likely continue over the weekend as airlines monitor the situation. Services will likely be up and running on 3 November.
- 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