Burkina Faso, led by a junta resulting from a coup d’etat, has ordered the military attache of the French embassy in the country to leave the territory within “two weeks”.
The French military attache chased out of Burkina Faso. The authorities have decided “to withdraw the approval of Mr. Emmanuel Pasquier, defense attache near the French embassy in Burkina Faso for subversive activities”, wrote the Burkina Faso Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a letter sent to Paris on Thursday, giving him “a period of two weeks to leave Burkinabe territory”.
The letter gives no explanation concerning the “subversive activities” accused of the defense attache. The Burkinabè government, resulting from a coup d’etat, has also decided to close the Burkinabè military mission in Paris, indicates this letter.
“The accusation of subversive activities is obviously fanciful,” reacted a spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris.
Relations between France and Burkina Faso have continued to deteriorate since Captain Ibrahim Traore came to power in a military coup in September 2022, the second in eight months.
In March, Burkina Faso denounced a 1961 military agreement with France, a few weeks after demanding and obtaining the withdrawal of the French “Sabre” force from this country plagued by jihadist violence.
The government had also requested the permanent departure of all French military personnel serving in the Burkinabè military administrations.
The French ambassador to Ouagadougou was recalled after the coup d’etat of September 2022 and has not been replaced since.
Contacts with Russia and Iran
In an interview broadcast last week by Radio Television du Burkina (RTB, public) Captain Traore affirmed that he was not angry with the “French people”, but with their leaders. “We must agree to look at each other as equals” and “we must agree to review all of our cooperation,” he declared.
He had also questioned the effectiveness of the presence of French soldiers in Burkina Faso as part of the anti-jihadist fight, whose departure he demanded in January.
Burkina has since been seeking new cooperation, in particular with Russia. A Russian delegation spoke with Ibrahim Traore in Ouagadougou at the end of August on questions of development and military cooperation and Captain Traore went to Saint Petersburg in July for the Russia-Africa summit.
Burkina Faso’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olivia Rouamba, recently expressed on Monday her country’s wish to “strengthen bilateral cooperation” with Iran, during an interview in Tehran with President Ebrahim Raïssi.
Spiral of jihadist violence
Since 2015, in the wake of its neighbors Mali and Niger also led by the military, Burkina has been caught in a spiral of violence perpetrated by jihadist groups affiliated with the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.
They have caused more than 17,000 civilian and military deaths since 2015, including more than 6,000 since the start of 2023, according to the NGO Acled.
Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger since the coup d’etat which overthrew elected president Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, have adopted a posture resolutely opposed to French policy in the Sahel region.
Source: BFM TV