Presidents from Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana have urged Burkina Faso's army to relinquish power or face crippling economic sanctions, the Associated Press reported. Burkina Faso's long-standing president, Blaise Compaore, was ousted from power Friday and the army established Lt. Col. Isaac Yacouba Zida as the country's transitional leader until elections can be held.
Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan, Senegal President Macky Sall and Ghana President John Dramani Mahama arrived in Burkina Faso Wednesday to discuss the power vacuum after Compaore stepped down from office. While Zida was named the transitional leader by the army, Burkina Faso's constitution states the speaker of the parliament should be in charge, the AP reports, citing Roch Marc Christian Kabore, a leader of the People's Movement for Progress party. The military suspended the country's constitution and National Assembly after Compaore's exit.
The African Union gave the army two weeks to return power to civilian rule before it would issue possible sanctions, including the suspension from the AU and travel restrictions, the BBC reported. The United Nations has also threatened sanctions if the military does not give up power.
The AU presidents want a one-year transition government before new elections, Reuters reported. "There were going to be elections next year. We believe that we should just work with that election date, which is next November. This means there will be a transitional government for one year and a new president will be elected," Mahama said.
Compaore, facing term limits, proposed changes to the constitution that would have allowed him to run for re-election, which led to widespread unrest and protests in the country's capital of Ouagadougou. Protesters stormed the parliament building Thursday and the Ouagadougou Airport due to the demonstrations.
Protesters concerned that the military's control of transitional power was a coup d’etat demonstrated in Ouagadougou on Sunday. The military opened fire, killing at least one person, and new road blocks and obstacles were placed in the city's main square.