General Honore Traore

General Honore Traore

Burkina Faso’s military chief has taken over as head of state in Burkina Faso. This development comes in the wake of violent protests at President Blaise Compaore’s attempt to extend his 27-year rule.

“In line with constitutional measures, and given the power vacuum, I will assume as of today my responsibilities as head of state,” General Honore Traore, who imposed a night curfew and announced the creation of a transitional government on Thursday, said in a statement.

Compaore also issued a statement announcing his resignation shortly after the army announced there would be formation of a transition government. The former President urged elections to be held within 90 days.

“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,” Compaore said in a statement. “For my part, I think I have fulfilled my duty.”

Protesters on Thursday set fire to parliament and government buildings, in protest against the Compaore’s plans to doctor the constitution. He had earlier acepted not to seek another term in office but that he remained in power he completed his mandate in office.

But opposition, led by Zephirin Diabre urged protesters to occupy public buildings, insisting Mr. Compaore must resign.

Mr. Compaore’s whereabouts remain unclear. Reuters news agency believed he was being escorted by a heavily armed convoy traveling towards the southern town of Po.

Burkina Faso’s colonial master and key ally, France, hailed the resignation, saying it would allow a solution to be found to the crisis.

Blaise Compaore seized power in 1987 after the assassination of the country’s characteristic revolutionary leader. Thomas Sankara, a close friend and colleague of Compaore, was killed by soldiers in unclear circumstances. He remained in power in one of the world’s least developed and poorest countries in the world.

Ends

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