In a scenario announced months ago, the regime that commands Burkina Faso asked, and France accepted, this Wednesday (25), to withdraw its troops from the country of the African Sahel country within a month.
To a local broadcaster, a spokesman for the military regime said that the country is breaking the agreement made with Paris in 2018, but stressed that this does not mean the end of diplomatic relations between the nations.
Already this Thursday (25), a spokesman for the French chancellery said that the folder called the French ambassador to Burkina, Luc Hallade, based in the capital Ouagadougou since 2019, for consultations. The objective would be to settle the prospects of continuing with some bilateral cooperation.
The announcements come in the wake of the diminishing French presence in Africa — partly due to the failures accumulated by the troops, sent there with the justification of helping to fight terrorism, partly due to the widespread rejection of citizens of countries that form the Sahel.
Last August, the country of Emmanuel Macron completed its military withdrawal from Mali, another former French colony, after nine years of operations. Three months later, the French president announced the end of Operation Barkhane, the country’s effort to send troops to the Sahel.
At the time, he said that the military would continue in nations like Burkina, Chad and Niger, but only through agreements that also involved governments and local regimes of African nations. In addition, the country has soldiers in Djibouti, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. Macron is expected later this year to announce a new model of French military presence on the continent.
Over the last few months, the dissatisfaction of Burkinabe citizens with the French presence has been expressed in the streets, with protests calling for an end to the military presence and, on the other hand, demanding the help of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which is growing its influence in Africa. mainly through the private military company Grupo Wagner.
In early December, Burkina granted an exploration license for a new gold mine to the Russian mining company Nordgold. Two weeks later, the government of neighboring Ghana accused the country of paying with the mine to hire Russian mercenaries, members of the Wagner Group, who were also active in the Ukrainian War.
Paris maintains 200 to 400 special forces in Burkina. The African country is facing a wave of jihadism that, this month, had a new demonstration after more than 60 women and babies were kidnapped by armed men while harvesting food – they have already been released after a regime operation.
The nation is also marked by significant political instability. With popular support, in part fueled by dissatisfaction with the failure to combat violence, a military coup ousted President Roch Kaboré a year ago. In September, the military man who led the coup was deposed in another coup, plunging the country into even more instability.
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