Burkinabe Military Vows to Hand Over Power

Burkinabe Military Vows to Hand Over PowerBurkinabe Military Vows to Hand Over Power

Burkina Faso’s army will quickly cede power to a transitional government and appoint a new head of state, the country’s interim President Isaac Zida said on Monday, looking to calm accusations that the military had seized power in a coup.

Longtime president Blaise Compaore stepped down on Friday following two days of mass protests in the impoverished West African nation over his bid to extend his 27-year rule by amending the constitution, the Reuters reported.

On Saturday, the military appointed Lieutenant Colonel Zida as provisional head of state, drawing criticism from opposition politicians, the African Union and Western powers.

The African Union, whose democratic charter binds its 54 member states to take action against coups on the continent, plied more pressure on the Burkina military on Monday, giving it an ultimatum to hand back power to a civilian administration within two weeks or face sanctions.

Zida told a gathering of diplomats and journalists in the capital Ouagadougou that executive powers would be passed to a transitional government, in accordance with the constitution.

His announcement came in the wake of crisis meetings late on Sunday and Monday between Zida and opposition leaders after thousands gathered to denounce his appointment in the central Place de la Nation - the scene of violent protests last week during which the parliament was set alight.

Under Burkina Faso’s constitution, the head of the National Assembly should take office if the president resigns, with a mandate to organize elections within 90 days. However, the National Assembly head has reportedly fled the country, along with other senior figures from the Compaore administration.