Burkina Faso Confirms Asking France To Withdraw Troops
The Burkina Faso government clarified on Monday that it has asked France to pull its troops out of the insurgency-hit country within a month.
France has around 400 special forces soldiers stationed in junta-ruled Burkina, but relations have deteriorated in recent months.
“We are terminating the agreement which allows French forces to be in Burkina Faso,” government spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo told Radio-Television du Burkina.
“This is not the end of diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and France,” he added.
“This termination is normal and is foreseen in the terms of the agreement,” the spokesman said.
The junta and all the country wanted “to be the prime actors in the recapture of our territory”.
Burkina Faso’s state news agency had unveiled the request late on Saturday.
AFP obtained on Sunday a copy of the Burkinabe foreign ministry’s letter sent to Paris and dated last Wednesday asking to “terminate and close the agreement in its entirety”.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said Paris was awaiting clarifications from Ouagadougou over the pullout call.
He said there was “great confusion” over the reports and urged military junta leader Ibrahim Traore to take a public stance.
The government spokesman said Monday: “At the present stage we don’t see how we can make it more clear.”
Burkina Faso is reeling from jihadist violence that swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015.
The insurgency has claimed the lives of thousands and driven at least two million others to flee their homes.
Traore has made reclaiming territory occupied by jihadists a top priority.