Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso’s Military Junta Asks France To Withdraw Troops From The Country

Burkina Faso’s military government has asked France to withdraw its troops stationed in the West African country to leave within a month, the government press agency Agence d’Information du Burkina (AIB) announced on Saturday, reported The Africa News.

The decision is the latest sign of deteriorating relations between France and its former colony since a second military coup in September of last year.

Last year in January, Burkina Faso’s military ousted former President Roch Kaboré and dissolved the government and parliament. The military suspended the constitution and closed borders.

 Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba was named as the West African country’s new leader. But, Damiba was ousted from the country’s top position during a coup in October 2022. Army Captain Ibrahim Traoré was later appointed as the country’s new president.

The AIB said the military government on Wednesday suspended a 2018 military accord that allowed the presence of French troops in the country and has set a deadline of a month for their departure. France has some 400 special forces soldiers stationed in Burkina Faso, which is battling groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS).

After the second coup there last year, anti-French sentiment has spiked in the country amid perceptions that France’s military presence has not improved the security situation.

On Friday, demonstrators gathered in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou to demand the French ambassador leave the country and that the French military base there be closed.

A number of anti-French protesters began urging the junta to instead strengthen ties with Russia. In recent months, Mali has already hired Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, who have been accused of widespread human rights abuses there and elsewhere.

But over 60 years after Burkina Faso’s independence, France has maintained strong economic and humanitarian aid ties with its former colony.

The move comes five months after France completed its withdrawal from Mali after nine years of fighting Islamist rebels alongside regional troops.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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