The government of Burkina Faso said Wednesday, November 24 ” work “ so that a French military convoy that demonstrators have prevented from circulating for nearly a week, can reach its ” final destination “, and Mali via le Niger.
“The convoy is still on Burkinabé territory and we are working for its departure from our territory so that it can reach Gao [Mali], its final destination “, said Burkinabe Foreign Minister Alpha Barry during a press briefing, hoping for a quick “Outcome of discussions” with the demonstrators.
Inviting them to “Trust the government”, the minister assured that “The convoy intended for the French forces in Gao is not a convoy against Burkina Faso and is not going to arm terrorists”, as false information on social media asserts. “The convoy is escorted by the national gendarmerie. We can’t imagine our army escorting a convoy to deliver [des armes] to terrorists “, he insisted.
The convoy is waiting in a military enclave located about thirty kilometers north-east of Ouagadougou, a Burkina Faso security source told AFP on Monday, without wanting to give the name of the locality where this enclave was located, in order to avoid further demonstrations.
“Do not make the wrong enemy”
Mr. Barry also praised the “Historical relations”, between France and Burkina Faso, in particular “A very important military cooperation which dates back to colonial times”. He indicated that logistical operations are taking place with the French army, in particular to transport Burkinabé soldiers to remote areas attacked by jihadist groups.
“The fight against terrorism is the business of all Burkinabés, of our national army. We must not get the wrong enemy, because France has always intervened by our side when we have requested it ”, he clarified.
On Saturday, at least four people were injured in Kaya, the main town in the Center-North region of Burkina Faso where demonstrators opposed the passage of a large logistics convoy of the French army coming from Côte d’Ivoire. This convoy had already been slowed down several times by demonstrators since it entered Burkina Faso.
France, present in the Sahel since 2013 to fight against jihadist groups, has started to reduce its system, planning to reduce its workforce in this region by 2023 to 2,500-3,000 men, against more than 5,000 previously . It faces a wind of protest over its presence, in particular in Mali and Burkina Faso.
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Burkina Faso: the government “works” so that a French convoy can resume its journey