Two Claim To Lead Burkina Faso After Coup

Two different leaders are claiming to be the leader of Burkina Faso after a military coup:

Two military leaders have made competing claims that they’re in charge of Burkina Faso after unrest that led to the resignation of the West African nation’s longtime president.

Both the nation’s top military chief, Gen. Honore Nabere Traore, and the deputy chief of the presidential guard, Lt. Col. Isaac Yacouba Zida, both declared Friday that they took over presidential duties and would lead the country through a political transition and elections.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the rival claims would be resolved or to what extent either man was in charge of the nation of 18 million people.

Friday’s moves came on a day that President Blaise Compaore resigned following violent protests — with demonstrators setting fire to the parliament building — demanding an end to his 27-year rule.

Traore appeared to make his announcement first, appealing for calm and calling for a return to a normal constitutional process. Security forces, including the military, would continue to maintain order and safety in the country, Traore said.

But Zida then took to national television, declaring himself president until political parties could agree on a transitional governing body.

“I assume starting from today the responsibilities of head of this transition and head of state to ensure the continuity of the state,” he said.

The long term question, of course, as it is after every military coup, is whether this will lead to a new round of elections or a more authoritarian state with the military in control. Before they can get to that point, though, they first have to resolve the question of which claimant is actually in charge before it devolves into some sort of civil war.

FILED UNDER: Africa, Quick Takes,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook