Burkina Faso’s military government has demanded the departure of French forces from the country, according to the government news agency, Burkina Faso’s Information Agency.
AIB reports, citing sources, that France has exactly one month to withdraw its forces from Burkina Faso, according to the terms of the 2018 agreement.
Last Wednesday, the military government denounced the agreement that has been governing since 2018, the presence of the French Armed Forces on its territory, according to what was reported by AIB Bank on Saturday.
France still has 400 special forces stationed in Burkina Faso, according to Reuters, to help fight Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State group after years of violence in the region.
On Friday, residents of the capital, Ouagadougou, took to the streets to protest the presence of French forces in the country.
Video from the protest showed demonstrators holding placards reading “French army get out of our house” and “Burkina Russia friendship”.
Some of the demonstrators carried the national flags of Burkina Faso and Russia.
In December, the Ghanaian president, Nana Akufo-Addo, said that the military government in Burkina Faso had invited mercenaries from Russia’s private military group Wagner.
Burkina Faso’s deputy minister for regional cooperation, Jean-Marie Traoré, called the allegations “very serious” at a press conference on December 16 after the government summoned the Ghanaian ambassador.
France – the former colonial power – first entered the Sahel in January 2013 at Mali’s request and launched Operation Serval, a UN-sanctioned land and air operation against Islamist militants.
The mission was succeeded in August 2014 by Operation Barkhane, a broader French counterterrorism initiative targeting Islamists throughout the Sahel region, including Burkina Faso.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced in June 2021 that the mission would be replaced by a larger international effort. Western forces began withdrawing from Mali in February last year despite remaining in Burkina Faso.
On January 24, 2022, Burkina Faso’s military seized power, overthrowing former President Roch Kabore and dissolving the government and parliament.
The military suspended the constitution and closed the borders. Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henry Damiba has been installed as the new leader of the West African country.
Damiba’s reign proved short-lived, however, as he was ousted from the country’s highest office during a military coup in October 2022. Army Captain Brahim Traoré was later appointed the country’s new president.