Blaise Compaoré, Burkina Faso’s leader of 27 years, has stepped down following violent protests against his attempt to seek a fifth term in office.
In a statement read out by presenters on national television on Friday, Compaoré called for a 90-day transition to elections.
“In order to preserve the democratic gains, as well as social peace … I declare a power vacuum to allow the establishment of a transition leading to free and fair elections within a maximum of 90 days,” the statement said.
A heavily armed convoy believed to be carrying Compaoré was seen travelling towards the southern town of Po, near the border with Ghana, two diplomatic sources and local media said.
The chief of armed forces, General Honore Traore, said that he had taken over as head of state.
France welcomed Compaoré’s resignation, saying the move “allows a solution to be found to the crisis”.
“France recalls its support for the constitution and thus for early, democratic elections,” President François Hollande’s office said in a statement.
News of Compaoré’s departure had initially come from an army official who addressed protesters in front of the army headquarters.
“As of today, Compaoré is no longer in power,” Colonel Boureima Farta said shortly after noon local time, prompting an outburst of cheers.
On Thursday the army dissolved parliament and announced a transitional government.
Compaoré on Thursday rejected calls to step down following angry demonstrations over plans to amend the constitution to allow him to extend his rule.
He said he would no longer seek another term but would stay in charge through 2015 under a transitional government.
By Edos News