Joe Penney / Reuters

Burkina Faso announces a transitional government

Lt. Col. Isaac Yacouba Zida, who initially took control of the West African country, will head the Defense Ministry

Transitional leaders in Burkina Faso have agreed on a new government to guide the country to elections next year, allocating several key Cabinet posts to the military.

Authorities issued a decree on Sunday announcing an interim government, with President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Lt. Col. Isaac Yacouba Zida, deputy commander of the elite presidential guard who was the temporary military ruler, also taking on the key ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense.

Of the 26 posts available, the army claimed six, including Mines, Communications and the Interior ministries. Other members were drawn from civil society groups and an assortment of political parties.

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaoré was forced from power by mass protests in late October as he sought to amend the constitution to prolong his 27-year rule.

A brief period of army rule ensued, led by Zida, before he bowed to pressure from the African Union to cede power to a civilian president, to rule until elections in 2015.

Western diplomats have expressed reserve about a strong army presence in the transitional government and advised against the appointment of Zida as prime minister. Under the terms of a transitional charter agreed earlier this month, neither Zida nor Kafando is eligible to run for president next year.

Kafando said on Friday he will allow investigations to be conducted on the remains of Thomas Sankara, a former president whose death nearly 30 years ago during a coup has never been fully explained. He said that investigations on Sankara's body, buried in Ouagadougou, would go forward "in the name of national reconciliation."

Sankara, a widely admired figure across Africa, was killed under unclear circumstances in the 1987 coup that brought Compaoré to power.  

Sankara's widow, Mariam Sankara, has long been fighting to have DNA tests performed on Sankara's body to prove the remains are his, but she has been blocked in the courts.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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