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Burkina Faso Army Backs Presidential Guard Official to Lead Transition

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Burkina Faso’s top military officials on Saturday threw their support behind presidential guard Lt. Col. Issaac Zida as leader of a transitional government following the resignation of President Blaise Compaore, sidelining the head of the army. “Lt. Col. Yacouba Issaac Zida has been elected unanimously to lead the transition period opened after the departure of President Blaise Compaore,” read a statement issued after military chiefs met to decide on a dispute between Zida and Gen. Honore Traore over who would take power.

Troops loyal to Zida patrolled the quiet streets of the capital Ouagadougou after he announced in a radio broadcast in the early hours of the morning that he was taking over as head of state. He said he did so to avoid a descent into anarchy and to ensure a swift democratic transition. The assumption of power by Traore, a Compaore loyalist, was unpopular with many demonstrators and junior army officers.

Compaore stepped down on Friday after two days of mass protests against his attempts to change the constitution to extend his 27-year rule. At least three people were killed after protesters stormed the parliament building and set it on fire.

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— Reuters