Africa

Clashes erupt between army, protesters in Burkina Faso

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Clashes have broken out between protesters and army in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, following demonstrations that challenged the army’s stepping into power.

According to reports on Sunday, thousands of people gathered at Place de la Nation square in the center of the capital to condemn the army’s takeover of power.

“I am here to stop the army from stealing our victory,” said Boubacar Sow, a protester.

The clashes came after the military top brass on Saturday named Lieutenant Colonel Yacouba Isaac Zida, the deputy commander of the elite presidential guard, to lead the country’s transition.

A day earlier, President Blaise Compaoré was forced to step down following two days of mass protests against his attempts to change the constitution to extend his rule for a fifth term.

The clashes erupted after the protesters accused the military of hijacking their revolution. The protesters also called for an immediate departure of the army and a civilian transfer of power.

“No to the theft of our victory, long live the people!” said one banner during the Sunday demonstration, while others read: “The soldiers have stolen our revolution,” “Zida get out!” and “Zida is Judas.”

Zida says he has assumed “the responsibilities of head of the transition and of head of state” to ensure a “smooth democratic transition.”

The 49-year-old pledged to work closely with civil society without giving details on a planned transition.

The head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has urged a civilian transition of power in Burkina Faso, threatening sanctions against the country unless the army gives up power.

Compaoré, who has reportedly fled to neighboring Ivory Coast with some of his family members, first took power in a coup in 1987, and has emerged victorious in four elections since then.

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