, Burkina, Nov 21 – Burkina Faso’s deposed president Blaise Compaore arrived in Morocco from Ivory Coast, where he has been in exile since his ouster in a popular revolt last month, the Moroccan foreign ministry announced early Friday.
Compaore, 63, arrived with five other people for a “fixed-term visit,” it said in a statement released on the official MAP news agency, without mentioning any time-frame.
“The kingdom of Morocco, which has strong historic, human and political links with Burkina Faso, reiterated its support for the process of transition in the country,” it added.
Later Friday Burkina Faso’s interim president Michel Kafando, a former foreign minister, formally assumes power.
However Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, the army officer who took power after the fall of Compaore, was on Wednesday named prime minister, ensuring the military keeps a grip on government despite pressure for a civilian transition.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI sent a message of congratulations to Kafando after he was sworn in on Tuesday.
Compaore fled to Ivory Coast on October 31 at the invitation of close ally President Alassane Ouattara after he was ousted.
But Compaore’s presence angered supporters of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo.
Compaore is widely seen by Gbagbo’s camp as being behind a failed 2002 coup seeking to depose him, which plunged Ivory Coast into nearly a decade of conflict.
– ‘Welcome to return’ –
Compaore left Burkina Faso under pressure from mass protests triggered by his attempt to change the constitution to extend his 27-year reign.
Ivory Coast took him in, housing him and his sizeable entourage in a walled villa in Yamoussoukro, the country’s political capital.
But a source in the Ivorian president’s office said that on Thursday, Compaore, his wife Chantal and family members boarded a specially chartered plane for Morocco.
The source insisted Compaore’s departure was not definitive and that he was “welcome to return”.
Campaore’s arrival in Ivory Coast — facilitated by the French military — had triggered anger for some because the 2002 coup attempt effectively divided the country in two, with rebels controlling the northern part bordering Burkina Faso and the south under the government’s control.
French sources alleged that hundreds of Ivorian rebels were trained in Burkina Faso and that Compaore gave financial backing to Ouattara.
Gbagbo’s decade-long rule of Ivory Coast ended in ignominy after he refused to accept defeat in an election in November 2010.
He was arrested in April 2011 by pro-Ouattara forces and is due to go on trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity in July next year.