In Burkina Faso, new warning to France

In Ouagadougou, at the end of 2017, Emmanuel Macron had been applauded by Burkinabé students by affirming his desire to break with a postcolonial vision and to normalize relations with Africa. Without being able to reflect access to condescension, he claimed to speak of equals with Africans by ceasing to give them lessons, even declaring: “There is no longer any African policy of France!”

The injunction addressed to France, Monday, January 23, by the military junta in power in Burkina Faso, to withdraw within one month her four hundred soldiers of the special forces based in Ouagadougou, shatters, Five years later, the ambition of a “uninhibited new partnership” that the president wanted to promote with the old French possessions. Meanwhile, the failure of the French soldiers, originally applauded, to restore security in Mali in the face of the grip of jihadists fueled in the Sahel a wave of resentment with regard to Paris, which Military putschists supported by Russia. The refusal of some of the African states to condemn to the UN the Russian aggression in Ukraine has highlighted the bap of a flaw which is far from concerning only France.

In 2022, French soldiers were forced to leave the Central African Republic and Mali. Each time, power counts on the support of the Russian mercenaries of Wagner, who finance themselves by looting the mineral resources. A comparable scenario is underway in Burkina Faso, even if the army seems divided on military cooperation with France.


In this context, rhetoric hostile to French politics, supported by Russian propaganda, has become a powerful lever: not only does it easily mobilize the population in search of a poverty and insecurity official, but , by justifying the interference of Russian mercenaries not regarding democracy, it allows the military arriving in power by the force of maintaining themselves.

In Burkina Faso, resentment against French politics is not only fueled by fantasies. The Burkinabés do not forget the troubled role of Paris in the assassination, in 1987, of Thomas Sankara, young revolutionary president, nor the unfailing support of France to Blaise Compaoré, accomplice of this crime, which occupied power for twenty -seven years. This very close past with the former colonizer fuels trials in interference and arrogance, in a country destabilized by the war imposed by the jihadist groups and maintained by social conflicts and by the impotence of the State.

The massive armament of the villagers desired by Captain Ibrahim Traoré, transitional president, risks plunging the country in the civil war, while the attacks have, since 2015, caused thousands of deaths and two million moved. Rather than the dead end of the ultra-secure spiral in which he gets bogged down, the “country of honest men” would benefit from engaging in a democratic transition and the search for a political solution.

This orientation would in no way exempt France from a solid reflection on the type of dialogue and presence that it intends to continue in Africa. This necessary Aggiornamento must take into account the fact that each decline, each weakness of Paris constitute as many opportunities for its rivals – in particular Russians, Chinese and Turkish -, whose purity of intentions with regard to Africans appears to say the least.

/Media reports cited above.