Mr. Blaise Compaore was force by the people to step down as President of Burkina Faso after 27 years in power, the army on Friday took over power in the country.

The Economic Community of West African States, however, condemned the takeover of power by the military, saying it would not recognise any unconstitutional change of power.

General Honore Traore said he had taken over as head of state in line with constitutional provisions.

He said, “In line with constitutional measures, and given the power vacuum, I will assume as of today (yesterday) my responsibilities as head of state.

“I undertake a solemn engagement to proceed without delay with consultations with all parties in the country so as to start the process of returning to the constitutional order as soon as possible.”

Compaore, who earlier on Thursday announced his resignation in a last ditch attempt at redeeming his battered image, issued a statement declaring the post vacant and calling for credible elections within the next three months.

“In order to preserve the democratic gains, as well as social peace, I declare a power vacuum to allow the establishment of a transition leading to free and fair elections within a maximum of 90 days,” he said.

The latest development followed wild protests on Thursday by an angry populace who had set fire to parliament and government buildings to show their frustration at Compaore’s plan to keep himself in power even after almost three decades at the helm of the country’s affairs.

Torn by ethnic violence and plagued by widespread poverty, Burkina Faso remains one of the most underdeveloped nations of the world.

The ECOWAS, in a statement on Thursday signed by the Chairman, Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, President John Mahama of Ghana, said it was following with grave attention, the events unfolding in Burkina Faso.

The statement also said that ECOWAS was following the tension around the process leading to the consideration of the draft bill on constitutional amendment.

It said that it had taken note of the decision by the government to withdraw the passing of the draft bill, and believed that it was geared towards preserving the stability and peace in the country.

The regional body reiterated the need for compliance with the principle of democracy and constitutional governance as stipulated in the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance.

It said, “ECOWAS calls on all the people to remain calm and law abiding, and the security forces to respect and act in accordance with the constitution of the Republic.

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

“ECOWAS, in line with its principle, will not recognise any ascension to power through non-constitutional means.”