a French military convoy repositioned to appease demonstrators

The French army, whose logistics convoy had been attacked for several days by demonstrators in a city in central Burkina Faso, repositioned it to the south of the city to end tensions, told AFP on Sunday the staff.

“The decision was taken to leave the gridded hold within which the convoy was positioned” to deploy a few tens of kilometers to the south (in order to) lower the tension and avoid another day of face to face between the demonstrators, the Burkinabé gendarmes and the French soldiers “, explained Colonel Pascal Ianni, spokesperson for the army staff.

“The situation was quite volatile yesterday”.

At least four people were injured on Saturday in Kaya, the main town in north-central Burkina Faso, where demonstrators have been opposing since Thursday the passage of a large logistics convoy of the French army, in transit to neighboring Niger, according to local and hospital sources.

The convoy left the hold without difficulty, in the middle of the night, while the demonstrators had dispersed. “False information circulated according to which the army fired in the crowd and injured four people”, he lamented, referring only to a few shots in the air and arguing that only the Burkinabe gendarmes were in direct contact with the demonstrators, outside the compound.

“We are fighting in the Sahel to fight against armed terrorist groups and ensure the safety of the population, not the opposite,” insisted the spokesperson.

France, present in the Sahel since 2013 to fight against jihadist groups, has started to reduce its system in the Sahel, planning to reduce its personnel there 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.

At least 49 gendarmes and four civilians were killed in an attack perpetrated last Sunday by suspected jihadists against a gendarmerie detachment in Inata, in the north of the country. “These demonstrations are primarily linked to the results of the Inata attack. This creates a trauma, we must find an outlet,” commented a French source close to the matter, rejecting the idea of ​​a real anti-sentiment. French.

Questioned by the private television channel LCI, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke for his part of the manipulations.

“There are manipulators, by social networks, by fake news, by the instrumentalization of part of the press, who play against France, some sometimes even inspired by European networks, I am thinking of Russia” , he declared recalling that five countries (Mali, Burkina, Niger, Chad and Mauritania) asked France “to help them against terrorism”.

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