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OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso - President Blaise Compaore announced his resignation in a statement on Friday and called for a 90-day transition to "free and transparent" elections in Burkina Faso, local media reported. "I declare a vacancy of power with a view to allowing a transition that should finish with free and transparent elections in a maximum period of 90 days," said the statement, which was read out on local radio and television stations in the the West African country.
Lieutenant-Colonel Issaac Zida of the presidential guard had earlier announced Compaore's departure in the central Place de la Nation in the capital Ouagadougou to cheering from tens of thousands of protesters. Huge crowds had gathered to demand the president's resignation after a day of violent protests on Thursday. A heavily armed convoy believed to be carrying Compaore was seen traveling on Friday towards the southern town of Po, near the border with Ghana, two diplomatic sources and local media said. Burkina Faso's armed forces chief General Honore Traore said on Friday that he had taken charge of the West African state in the wake of the president's resignation.