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Military Announces It Will Install Transitional Government in Burkina Faso

Posted on in Burkina Faso title_rule

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:

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