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Burkina Faso's Traore Named Transition President

FILE - Burkina Faso's new military leader Ibrahim Traore is escorted by soldiers in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Oct. 2, 2022.

Captain Ibrahim Traore, who led the latest coup in Burkina Faso, was on Friday named interim president until elections are held in July 2024, two members of the ruling junta told AFP.

The gathering of some 300 delegates in the capital Ouagadougou to discuss the country's future took place two weeks after the jihadist-torn Sahel state was rocked by its second military takeover in less than nine months.

Burkina Faso Holds Post-coup Talks to Select President
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"Captain Traore has just been unanimously designated president of the transition (government) by the national forum," a member of the West African nation's junta said. Another junta member confirmed the news.

It adopted article five of a "transition charter" which stipulates that the head of the party of the ruling junta assumes the positions of transition president, head of state and supreme chief of the national armed forces, the two sources said.

The forum also adopted an article in the charter which says the transition president's mandate ends with the investiture of the president resulting from elections planned in 2024.

It adds that the transition president is not eligible to stand in presidential, legislative and local elections, organized to end the transition period.

Burkina Faso's National Forum Commences to Chart Country’s Future
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A 34-year-old captain, Traore, leading disgruntled junior officers, forced out Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba last month.

Damiba had seized power only in January, toppling Burkina's last elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

Several hundreds demonstrated Friday in the capital to call for Traore to be appointed president.

"We want captain Traore or nothing," demonstrator Sayouba Ouedrapogo told AFP near the conference centre when the talks opened.

Traore did not attend the forum but junta member captain Marcel Medah read out a message from him urging national unity and peace.

"We must set aside our differences ... and write a new page full of hope," the message said.

Traore called for "clear directions for the construction of a strong and resilient nation, a nation that can establish peace, security, and sustainable development."

One of the world's poorest nations, Burkina Faso has a long history of coups since independence from France in 1960.

The latest are rooted in unrest within army ranks over the jihadist insurgency that swept in from neighboring Mali in 2015.

Thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million have been displaced and more than a third of the country lies outside government control.