French presence in the Muslim-majority western African country, Burkina Faso, will further lessen after its troops were asked to withdraw, said the French foreign ministry on Wednesday.
The withdrawal, with 200-400 Special Forces stationed in Burkina, was preceded by protests by those who had been opposing the establishment of the French military in Burkina Faso. The protests have increased in the region as there has been a growing perception that France has not been able to tackle Islamist insurgency. This has been growing in the region after spreading from the neighbouring Mali.
France disengaged its military forces from Mali last year after the military junta in Burkina’s neighbour established Russian military contractors in the country.
Burkina government ends to deal with France
Burkina’s government said on Monday, it decided to end a military deal that enabled French troops to tackle insurgents on its territory as the government wants the country to protect itself.
In a statement given to the British news agency, Reuters, the French ministry stated that it had received a notice on Tuesday, January, 24 that a 2018 accord on the status of French forces in the country had been abolished.
“In accordance with the terms of the agreement, the denunciation takes effect one month after receipt of the written notification. We will comply with the terms of this agreement by complying with this request,” the notice read.
On Saturday, Burkina Faso’s national television reported that the government had terminated a 2018 military agreement with Paris on January 18, giving France a month to detain its troops.
The West African country is experiencing an Islamist insurgency by groups connected to terrorist groups al Qaeda and Islamic State, which have annexed large land areas and displaced millions of people in the Sahel region, south of the Sahara.
French defence and diplomatic sources said the Special Forces could be deployed in Niger, another country in West Africa, where a large contingent of French and European troops are now stationed. The European country has a large military presence in Chad.