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West Africans press Burkina army to hand over power, Hollande admits helping Compaoré flee

media Burkina Faso's current leader Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida AFP

West African leaders met the colonel currently leading Burkina Faso on Wednesday to press the army to hand over power to a civilian government. French President François Hollande has admitted that France had helped deposed president Blaise Compaoré flee the country.

Three heads of state representing the west African grouping Ecowas met Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida, whom the army named as Burkina Faso’s interim leader on Saturday, and went on to meet other political leaders.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan and Ghana’s John Dramani Mahama, who holds Ecowas’s revolving presidency at the moment, arrived in Ouagadougou on Wednesday to push for a speedy handover to civilian rule.

On Tuesday Zida said there was “no reason that the transition shouldn’t be done within two weeks”, according to union leader Jospeh Tiendrebeogo.

Under the constitution, which has been suspended, the speaker of parliament should have taken over after Compaoré was chased out of office by huge demonstrations.

But no-one knows where the current speaker, Soungalo Ouattara – a Compaoré ally – is.

Canada suspended its aid to Burkina Faso because of the military takeover and other countries are considering similar action.

Having at first denied that France played any role in Compaoré’s flight last week, French President François Hollande on Tuesday admitted that it did help him leave the country for Côte d’Ivoire on his request “to ensure the transition”.

The families of victims of July’s Air Algérie crash have put off a visit to Burkina Faso that was supposed to take place in mid-November because of the political situation.

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