France recalls ambassador from Burkina Faso as troops prepare to leave


Officials in Paris on Thursday announced that France was recalling its ambassador from Burkina Faso, a day after agreeing to demands from the ruling military junta to pull out troops from the former French colony in Africa's Sahel region.

"In the context of the latest developments in Burkina Faso, we have decided to recall our ambassador to Paris for consultations on the status and perspectives of our bilateral relations," the foreign ministry said.

Burkina on Monday said it had given France one month to withdraw its contingent of 400 troops stationed in the country. On Wednesday Paris agreed to do so.

For several months, the ruling junta has made known its dissatisfaction with the French Ambassador, Luc Hallade. In December, junta officials wrote to Paris, demanding Hallade's departure, claiming that he had publicly criticised the country's collapsing security apparatus.

Ambassador Hallade has been in place in Ouagadougou since the summer of 2019

The promised withdrawal marks the latest scaling down of France's military presence in Africa. The junta in neighbouring Mali has also insisted on the departure of French troops. Last year, President Emmanuel Macron brought France's decade long anti-jihadist mission to an end.

Both Mali and Burkina Faso fell out with Paris in the wake of military coups. With both nations under military rule, the French presence has become increasingly unpopular among the public.

Jihadist groups still active

Burkina is one of the poorest and most volatile nations in Africa.

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