France announced the recall of its ambassador from Burkina Faso on Thursday, a day after agreeing to the ruling junta’s demand that troops withdraw from the former French colony in Africa’s Sahel region.
“In the context of the latest developments in Burkina Faso, we have decided to recall our ambassador to Paris for consultations on the state and perspectives of our bilateral relations,” the foreign ministry said.
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Burkina Faso said on Monday that it had asked France to withdraw its contingent of 400 troops stationed in the country within a month, and Paris agreed to do so on Wednesday.
It was the latest reduction in France’s military presence in Africa after the junta in neighbouring Mali demanded French troops leave and President Emmanuel Macron ended the decade-long anti-jihadist mission.
Both Mali and Burkina Faso fell out with Paris after a military coup brought a junta to power and the French presence became increasingly unpopular among the public.
Jihadist activity in the region continues, as concerns grow about Russia’s growing influence, particularly the presence of mercenaries from the Wagner Group, which is run by a Putin ally.
Burkina Faso is one of Africa’s poorest and most volatile countries.
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Since jihadists launched an insurgency from neighbouring Mali in 2015, thousands of troops, police, and civilians have been killed, and approximately two million people have fled their homes.
More than a third of the country is out of government control, and army dissatisfaction with the mounting toll triggered two coups last year.