In a recent development, Burkina Faso’s military government has ordered French troops stationed in the West African country to leave within a month. The decision, announced by the official Agence d’Information du Burkina (AIB), is the latest sign of deteriorating relations between France and its former colony since a second military coup in September of last year.
The AIB stated that the military government on Wednesday suspended a 2018 military accord that allowed the presence of French troops in the country. This move has raised concerns about the security situation in Burkina Faso, which is one of the world’s poorest countries and has been plagued by conflict that has spread across the Sahel region from Mali over the past decade, killing thousands of civilians.
France has around 400 special forces soldiers stationed in Burkina Faso, which are engaged in battles against groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIL. In recent months, anti-French sentiment has spiked in the country amid perceptions that France’s military presence has not improved the security situation.
Mali, another former colony of France, had ordered French troops out of the country last year. The last of the 2,400 French troops stationed there left in August after nine years of fighting al-Qaeda and ISIL-affiliated groups. Many of those troops are now based in Niger and Chad instead. Mali has now hired Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, who have been accused of widespread human rights abuses there and elsewhere.
It is yet to be seen how the situation in Burkina Faso will unfold with the departure of French troops. The decision to suspend the military accord with France raises questions about the security situation in the country and the region as a whole. The international community will be closely monitoring the situation, and it is crucial for all parties to work towards finding a peaceful resolution for the stability and security of the people of Burkina Faso.