Burkina Faso demands the departure of the French troops within a month

VINCENT BADO / REUTERS People hold signs as they gather to show their support for Burkina Faso’s new military leader Ibrahim Traore and demand the departure of the French ambassador at the Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso January 20, 2023. The sign reads: “French soldiers out of the country we”. REUTERS/Vincent Bado


A demonstration demanding an end to the French presence in Burkina Faso took place on Friday 20 January in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

AFRICA – France is no longer accepted. Burkina Faso this week demanded the departure of French troops from its soil within a month, in the context of months of heightened tensions between the two countries and while Moscow seeks to advance its pawns.

“The government of Burkina condemned last Wednesday the agreement which since 2018 has regulated the presence of French armed forces on its territory”said the Burkinabè Information Agency (AIB). “This complaint made on 18 January 2023 gives, under the terms of the 17 December 2018 agreement, one month for the French Armed Forces to leave Burkinabe territory”continued the national agency.

“This is not a break with France. The notification relates only to the military cooperation agreement.”, he explained. On Tuesday, the transitional president, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who came to power in a putsch in late September, his second in eight months, made clear to students that “fought for sovereignty” before ” engaged “.

Anti-French demonstration in Ouagadougou

According to a source familiar with the matter consulted by AFP, France’s preferred option is to redeploy these special forces in the south of neighboring Niger, where nearly 2,000 French troops have already been deployed.

France, a former colonial power, has been jockeying for power in Burkina Faso for several months. Several demonstrations, last Friday, recently took place in Ouagadougou to demand French withdrawal from this Sahel nation, which hosts nearly 400 French special forces contingents.

Last week, Paris sent Foreign Minister Chrysoula Zacharopoulou to meet the transitional president there. “France imposes nothing, is available to create a future together”he hits, reassuring not to “Influence any choice or decision, no one can dictate their choice in Burkina”.

Burkina authorities recently expressed their desire to diversify their partnership, particularly in the fight against jihadism, which has ravaged the country since 2015. Captain Ibrahim Traoré has set goals for himself. “reconquest of territories occupied by these terrorist gangs”.

On Thursday, Burkina Faso was hit by a series of attacks in several areas in the north and northwest of the country, killing around thirty people, including around fifteen Home Defense Volunteers (VDP), army aides.

Burkina closer to Russia?

Among the new partners being considered by Ouagadougou, the question of a possible rapprochement with Russia frequently arises. “Russia is the preferred reason in this dynamic”and “We believe that our partnership should be strengthened”, said Burkinabe Prime Minister Apollinaire Kyélem de Tembela last week, after an interview with Russian Ambassador Alexey Saltykov. In early December, he made a secret visit to Moscow.

Last summer, the ruling junta in neighboring Mali ordered French troops to leave the country after nine years of presence. Multiple sources report that the Malian junta started bringing in the Russian paramilitary group Wagner in late 2021, whose actions have been condemned in various countries, which the junta denies.

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