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African Union gives Burkina Faso two weeks to return to civilian rule

03 November 2014, 23:02

Addis Ababa - The African Union on Monday gave Burkina Faso's army two weeks to return the west African state to civilian rule and threatened sanctions if it failed to comply.

"We ask the armed forces to transfer power to the civil authorities, and the council has determined a period of two weeks for the transfer," said Simeon Oyono Esono, head of the AU's Peace and Security Council, speaking in Spanish.

The army has stepped into a power vacuum left by ousted leader Blaise Compaore, who was forced to resign the presidency last week in the wake of violent demonstrations at his attempt to extend his 27-year-rule.

Also read: Burkina Faso army vows unity govt

Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida was named the interim head of state.

"The African Union is convinced that the change has been against democracy. However, we know that popular pressure led to the resignation of the president. Those circumstances were taken by the armed forces to get into power, but it originated from the people," Esono said.

"Having taken note of the origin of the popular revolt which led the military to assume power, we determined a period of two weeks, and after that period we are going to apply sanctions."

The United Nations, US and EU have also called for the country's military top brass to hand power back to civilians.

After the two week period, the AU will appoint a special envoy to the country and meet again "to examine the situation and see the steps to be followed."



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