Burkina Faso’s opposition parties and the African Union rejected the army’s seizure of power in the West African country on Saturday after the resignation of President Blaise Compaore, setting the stage for fresh protests.
The military top brass named Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, deputy commander of the elite presidential guard, as head of state on Saturday. A power struggle within the armed forces was resolved by sidelining the chief of staff.
Zida, who has operational control over the army’s best trained and equipped unit, had declared himself interim president in an early morning radio address, overruling military chief General Honore Traore’s claim to lead a transitional government following Compaore’s departure.
One of Africa’s long-serving rulers, Compaore stepped down on Friday after two days of mass demonstrations against his attempts to change the constitution to extend his 27 years in power. At least three people were killed after protesters stormed the parliament building and set it on fire.
On the dusty streets of Ouagadougou, the capital, protesters voiced anger that they had driven out Compaore – who seized power in a 1987 military coup – only to have another soldier imposed on them. …
The United States could freeze military cooperation if it judges a coup has taken place. Washington on Friday urged a peaceful transition to elections, respecting constitutional rules.
Under Burkina Faso’s 1991 constitution, the head of parliament should take office if the president resigns, with a mandate to organize elections within 90 days. However, the army has dissolved the legislature and suspended the constitution.