Army backs new Burkina Faso leader Isaac Zida

Burkina Faso military chiefs have backed Isaac Zida as transitional president, an army statement says.

The statement appears to end confusion over who has succeeded President Blaise Compaore, who stood down amid unrest.

Lt-Col Zida appeared on television overnight to announce that he was taking over as head of state.

His move is being seen as a putsch against the military chief of staff, who had declared himself leader moments after Mr Compaore quit.

However, army chief General Navere Honore Traore was a signatory to the new army statement which said: “Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida was chosen unanimously to lead the transition period opened after the departure of president Compaore”.

Colonel Zida, previously second in command of the presidential guard, said he had assumed “the responsibilities of head of the transition and of head of state” to ensure a “smooth democratic transition”.

A violent Thursday saw protesters set fire to parliament and government buildings in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou.

A statement by Colonel Isaac Zida said he had assumed control of Burkina Faso

President Blaise Compaore, who quit after 27 years as president, fled the country and is now in Yamoussoukro, the capital of neighbouring Ivory Coast.

His fall was prompted by an attempt to amend the constitution and extend his long hold on the presidency.

A statement from the office of President Alassane Ouattara said Ivory Coast took in Mr Compaore, his family and those close to him and was paying “particular attention” to events in Burkina Faso, news agency AP reported.

The BBC’s Laeila Adjovi, in Ouagadougou, said it seemed as if the “land of upright men” was holding its breath ahead of the military statement on Saturday.

Under the country’s constitution, the president of the Senate should take over after the national president resigns, with elections taking place between 60 and 90 days afterwards.

But observers had predicted the leader of the transition would be an army chief, because the individual will not be able to stand as a candidate in the next elections.
Credit: BBC