Ghana: ECOWAS calls for calm in Burkina Faso

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday called on all the people of Burkina Faso to remain calm and law abiding following violence in the capital during protests against President Blaise Compaore who has been accused of trying to amend the constitution that would allow him to run for another term of office.

A statement issued in Accra by Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama, who is also Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, asked the security forces to respect and act in accordance with the constitution of the Republic.

ECOWAS also called on all the parties involved, notably the entire political class, to embrace dialogue with a view to arriving at a political consensus that would lead to free, fair and credible election consistent with constitutional provisions.

It said ECOWAS, in line with its principle, would not recognize any ascension to power through non-constitutional means.

The statement said ECOWAS had followed with grave attention the events unfolding in Burkina Faso and the tension around the process leading to the consideration of the draft bill on constitutional amendment.

"ECOWAS takes note of the decision by the government to withdraw the passing of this draft bill.

"ECOWAS believes that this decision is geared towards preserving the stability and peace in the country. To this end, it reiterates the need for compliance with the principle of democracy and constitutional governance as stipulated in the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance," the statement said.

Protesters have reportedly ransacked and burned down the Parliament and other government buildings.

They have been demanding the resignation of President Compaore, who has been in power for 27 years. Elections are scheduled for next year.

President Compaore, whose whereabouts is not known, is reported to have broadcast from a private radio station declaring a state of emergency and dissolving the government.

Crowds of protesters Thursday ransacked and occupied the Burkina Faso National Assembly building and other state symbols, including the public radio and television, demanding the departure of President Compaoré from power.

PANA witnessed the events as blasts of gunfire were heard from the Presidential Palace.

According to eyewitnesses, at least three people have been  and 61 injured in the protests.

The 63-year-old leader of Burkina Faso seized power in a coup in 1987 and has since 1991 been re-elected four times.

Protesters were demanding the end of his rule because they were against the constitutional amendment that would allow him to stay longer in power.

Other high ranking officials of the regime, whose homes were ransacked, have been taken to the gendarmerie while some ministers have sought refuge at the residence of Mogho Naba, monarch of the country's dominant Mossi tribe.
-0- PANA MA 30Oct2014

30 october 2014 19:19:28

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