Burkina Faso junta demands exit of French troops within a month

REUTERS - VINCENT BADO

Burkina Faso's military regime told France it wants its troops stationed in the country to leave within a month, the state news agency AIB reported on Saturday. This came as protesters gathered to demand the French ambassador leave the country and that the French military base in Ouagadougou be closed.

"The Burkinabe government last Wednesday denounced the accord which has governed, since 2018, the presence of French armed forces on its territory," the AIB news agency said, adding that authorities had given France a month to complete its pull-out.

A source close to the government clarified it was "not the severance of relations with France. The notification only concerns military cooperation agreements".

France has 400 special forces soldiers stationed in junta-ruled Burkina to battle an Islamist insurgency, but relations have deteriorated in recent months.

Sources familiar with the matter told AFP that France's preferred option would be to redeploy its forces in the south of neighbouring Niger, where nearly 2,000 French soldiers are already stationed.

Inching closer to Russia

The military junta, led by Captain Ibrahim Traore, seized power last September in the second coup in the former French colony in eight months.

Traore's regime has been seeking to rekindle ties with Russia since his coup.

Demonstrators gathered in Burkina's capital Ouagadougou on Friday to demand the French ambassador leave the country and that the French military base there be closed.

(with AFP)


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