There are fears of an imminent power struggle in Burkina Faso after a group of army officers claimed to have “taken the destiny of the nation in hand” only hours after the head of the army, General Honore Traore, said he was assuming power. General Traore’s claim to power has also been challenged by a deputy commander of the presidential guard and a leader of one of the civil society groups who helped lead the street protests that toppled the president.
There have been days of violent protests against the leader’s 27-year rule. Hundreds of thousands of people joined marches this week against Compaore’s plans to amend the constitution – a bid to extend his term in office, instead of sticking to a pledge to step down next year. At the height of the unrest, demonstrators on Thursday stormed the parliament building in the capital and set fire to the main chamber.
Land-locked Burkina Faso gained independence in 1960 and is currently one of the world’s poorest nations. Compaore, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, had ruled the country since 1987, when he seized power in a coup.
Meanwhile the African union has assigned Former President of Nigeria Olushegun Obasanjo to help find a political solution to the crisis in Burkina Faso. This as a high level AU delegation in the capital, Ouagadogou pushes for elections at the earliest opportunity.