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World French military convoy in Burkina remains blocked after protests

15:50  25 november  2021
15:50  25 november  2021 Source:   afp.com

Burkina Faso: manifestation on the degraded security situation after the attack of INATA

 Burkina Faso: manifestation on the degraded security situation after the attack of INATA © AFP Photo / SIA Kambou The protesters have shouted their anger in the face of the recurrence of terrorist attacks and their macabre balance sheet. Here, seen from the city center of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. This is the continuation of the Inata Gendarmerie detachment attack, in the province of Soum last Sunday, which officially made 32 dead according to a temporary assessment.

A French military convoy heading for Mali remained blocked in Burkina Faso on Thursday after being hampered by protests.

Burkinabe troops patrol near a French armoured vehicle at Kaya, where the convoy encountered a large protest last Friday © OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT Burkinabe troops patrol near a French armoured vehicle at Kaya, where the convoy encountered a large protest last Friday

The convoy, comprising several dozen vehicles, is heading for a French base in Gao in the violence-torn centre of Mali.

It first has to transit through Burkina Faso, which lies to the south, and then through Niger, to the east.

After entering Burkina's territory from Ivory Coast last week, the convoy was slowed by protesters at Bobo Dioulasso, the country's second largest city, and then at Ouagadougou, the capital.

North of Burkina: 53 deaths in the Sunday attack against gendarmes (new assessment)

 North of Burkina: 53 deaths in the Sunday attack against gendarmes (new assessment) © Issouf Sanogo Gendarmes in Burkina Faso, in 2018 At least 49 gendarmes and four civilians were killed during the attack Perpetrated Sunday by alleged jihadists against a detachment from Inata Gendarmerie, in northern Burkina Faso, according to a new balance sheet communicated by the government spokesman on Wednesday. "We can establish the following balance sheet: 49 deceased gendarmes, 4 civilians (killed).

On Friday, the biggest demonstration occurred at Kaya, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Ouagadougou.

Thousands of protesters, some carrying placards reading "French army, leave" and "free the Sahel" and singing the Burkinabe national anthem, forced the convoy to hole up on a site near the town.

The following day, four people suffered gunshot wounds in Kaya, in circumstances that remain unclear -- French and Burkinabe soldiers fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators.

The convoy on Thursday was stationed in a military area about 30 kilometres (18 miles) northeast of Ouagadougou, pending the outcome of talks to let the trucks leave for Niger, the next country in the trek.

The protests are being organised by a group called the Coalition of the African Patriots of Burkina Faso, or COPA BF.

Burkina Faso: a French military convoy blocked at the entrance of the city of Kaya

 Burkina Faso: a French military convoy blocked at the entrance of the city of Kaya © Michele Cattani / AFP A French military convoy in a rural area north of Burkina. (Drawing). From Thursday evening November 18, young people in the city of Kaya, in the North Central region, demonstrate to request the departure of the French troops of Burkina. They refuse to pass a French military convoy that must join Niger. These vehicles had already been blocked in Bobo and Ouagadougou. And the situation in Kaya, is for the deadlock. Kaya had never seen that again.

"In spite of the (security) accords signed with France, we continue to have more fatalities and our country is still under-equipped," said its spokesman, Roland Baya.

- Social media rumours -

France has deployed more than 5,000 troops in the Sahel, backed by planes and drones, to shore up Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso against jihadists who launched a bloody insurgency more than nine years ago.

Map of Burkina Faso © Sophie RAMIS Map of Burkina Faso

But false rumours proliferating on social media -- which were also recounted by several protesters -- claimed the convoy was in fact carrying weapons for the jihadists.

Foreign Minister Alpha Barry on Wednesday hit out at the rumours, saying it was "unimaginable that our army would escort a convoy to bring (weapons) to the terrorists."

He added that he hoped negotiations with the protest organisers to defuse the situation would "swiftly wind up."

Burkina Faso: The French military convoy left Kaya for Ouagadougou

 Burkina Faso: The French military convoy left Kaya for Ouagadougou © Olympia of Maismont / AFP Soldiers Burkinabe patrolt near a grilled area where French soldiers were entrenched on November 20, 2021. the day was tense around the base where the convoy of the French army has settled. Protesters tried to access the site. French soldiers carried out summons to move them away. The Governor of the Kaya Region went twice on the spot to try to defuse the crisis and allow the convoy to return to Ouagadougou.

Barry said that France and Burkina, which as Upper Volta was a French colony until independence in 1960, had "historic relations."

"People shouldn't be targeting the wrong enemy -- France has always been at our side when we asked for its help," Barry said.

The French army had helped bring Burkinabe troops to remote places threatened by jihadists, he said.

They helped in this way after an attack on November 14 on a gendarmerie base in Inata, northern Burkina Faso, that claimed 57 lives, he revealed.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Its armed forces are ill-equipped against the jihadists, who are adept at planting roadside bombs and carrying out ambushes and hit-and-run raids on motorbikes.

Anger at the security crisis has spilled over into the political arena, where thousands have demonstrated against President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

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Niger-A French military convoy blocked, at least two dead .
Niger-France /: Niger-a French military convoy blocked, at least two dead by Boueima Balima and John Irish Paris, 27 November (Reuters) - at least 27 November Two people were killed and sixteen wounded Saturday in Western Niger during clashes between protesters and a French military convoy from Burkina Faso that protesters were trying to block, announced local authorities.

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