Burkina Faso’s armed forces tonight announced the formal end of French Force Sabre’s operations in the country, three weeks after the transitional government denounced defense cooperation agreements with Paris.

“The General Staff of the Armed Forces and the command of the Strike Force Sabre organized on Saturday, February 18, at the site of Camp Billa Zagre of Campoisin (in the Ouagadougou region) a ceremony of lowering the (French) flag, which marks the official end of operations of the French force from the territory of Burkina Faso,” the statement said.

The ceremony was attended by the head of the Burkina Faso army, Colonel Adam Neret, and French Lt. Col. Louis Lecaisseur, as a representative of the Sabre force.

The announcement did not specify how many of the 400 French soldiers still remain in the country. A source said most have already left. The withdrawal will be completed with the removal of their equipment, based on the timetable agreed between the two countries.

On January 18, the government of Burkina Faso denounced the agreements with France and gave French soldiers a month to leave the country, announcing that it intends to deal alone with the jihadist rebels who operate mainly in the north and have seized large areas of land.