Burkina Faso confirms demand for French troops to leave country


Demonstrators hold placards during a protest to support Burkina Faso’s Captain Ibrahim Traore and to demand the departure of France’s military forces, in Ouagadougou, on January 20, 2023 [File: Olympia de Maismont/ AFP]

Burkina Faso has confirmed it is asking France to pull its troops out of the insurgency-hit country within a month, a government spokesman said on Monday.

“We are terminating the agreement which allows French forces to be in Burkina Faso. This is not the end of diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and France,” spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo told Radio-Television Burkina (RTB).

French President Emmanuel Macron said during a news conference in Paris on Sunday that the message from Burkina Faso was “confusing” with junta leader Ibrahim Traore away from the capital, Ouagadougou.

Citing the official Agence d’Information du Burkina, national broadcaster RTB reported Saturday that the junta government had decided Wednesday to end the French military presence in the country.

“I think we must be very careful,” Macron said about the report, mentioning Russia’s possible interference and the need to make sure that there was no “manipulation” of information.

Anti-French sentiment has grown in Burkina Faso, a former French colony, since Traore seized power in September. Traore has been more overtly open to working with other countries, notably Russia.

Protesters took to the streets of Ouagadougou this month to call for the ouster of the French ambassador and the closure of a French military base north of the capital. About 400 French special forces soldiers are currently based there, FRANCE 24 reported.

France finished withdrawing its troops from Mali after nine years fighting Islamic extremists alongside regional troops. Many of the French soldiers are now based in Niger and Chad instead.


RELATED: Burkina Faso: 66 women, children freed from extremists – Army

On Jan.20, the Burkinabe national broadcaster released a video showing women just set free. They’d been abducted earlier this month while gathering food in the nation’s north.

According to state television, the country’s armed forces located the hostages, including 39 children, during a military operation in the Center-North region.

Burkina Faso’s army has freed 66 women and children who were abducted earlier this month by Islamic extremists while gathering food in the country’s northern Sahel region, according to a state television report Friday (Jan.20).

National broadcaster RTB reported that armed forces had located the hostages during a military operation in Center-North region. The group included 39 children, with four infants among them.

Authorities have said they had been out in the countryside gathering wild fruit near the town of Arbinda in Soum province when Islamic extremists kidnapped them on Jan. 12 and 13.

Security sources said they were found in the Tougouri region, 200 kilometres (125 miles) further south. Helicopters flew them to Ouagadougou, where they were met by senior army officers.

Extremists have besieged towns around the West African country, preventing people and goods from moving freely. The town of Arbinda has been under jihadi blockade for years, making women more vulnerable to attacks if they try to leave, rights groups say.

Jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group has overrun Burkina Faso, killing thousands and displacing nearly 2 million people in the West African nation. The failure of successive governments to stop the fighting has caused widespread discontent and triggered two military coups in 2022.

The military junta that seized power in September, vowing to restore security, is still struggling to stem the violence.


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By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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