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Zida 'Burkina Faso head of state'

Saturday, November 01, 2014 - 00:15

Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida says he is taking over as head of state in Burkina Faso. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT, NO REPORTER NARRATION Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida said on Saturday (November 1) he was taking over as head of state in Burkina Faso, in an apparent push against the military chief of staff Honore Traore who had earlier said he would lead a transition. Burkina Faso's longtime President Blaise Compaore had resigned on Friday (October 31) amid mass protests against his efforts to extend his 27-year rule, leaving two military factions vying for control of the West African country. Zida's statement, broadcast on Radio Omega FM, came after a resident living near the presidential palace in Ouagadougou reported hearing several minutes of heavy gunfire in the early hours of Saturday. The whereabouts of Traore was not immediately clear. He had announced that he would take over the presidency at a news conference shortly after Compaore's resignation on Friday, but had not appeared publicly since then. Many of the tens of thousands of protesters who packed the streets of Ouagadougou on Friday had rejected Traore's announcement, saying that he was too close to outgoing president Compaore. Capitalising on the frustration among protesters, a group of junior officers led by Zida -- who commands a regiment of the president guard, the army's best trained and equipped force - quickly moved to challenge Traore's authority late on Friday, announcing curfew measures and the closure of borders. Compaore was a close military ally of the United States and former colonial power France.

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Zida 'Burkina Faso head of state'

Saturday, November 01, 2014 - 00:15