posted at 03:50
Author Name: Romaric Ollo Hien
Power struggle in Burkina Faso after president flees
The tussle for power comes after days of violent demonstrations against president Blaise Compaore's longtime rule that saw parliament stormed and set ablaze, in protests closely watched across the continent where other veteran heads of state are also aiming to extend their rule. A French diplomatic source told AFP that Compaore was travelling south towards the town of Po near the border with Ghana and that he had not asked for refuge in France, the former colonial power. Compaore is one of several sub-Saharan African leaders who have stayed in power for decades, and at least four heads of state are pressing for similar constitutional changes to cling to power. Army chief Traore said on Friday that he was assuming power as head of state, a day after he ordered the dissolution of the government and a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Many protesters are deeply opposed to him taking power, seeing him as a close ally of Compaore. "We do not want General Traore in power. We need someone credible. Traore is Blaise Compaore's henchman," said Monou Tapsoaba, an activist with the opposition People's Movement for Progress. France's President Francois Hollande vowed that Paris would "Contribute to calming" the situation in its former colony, while Washington urged "a transfer of power in accordance with the constitution". His bid to cling to power angered many, particularly young people in a country where 60 percent of the population of almost 17 million is under 25.

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