body-container-line-1

French army convoy halted in Burkina reaches Niger

By AFP
Africa The convoy came to a halt in Kaya after encountering thousands of anti-French demonstrators.  By OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT (AFP)
NOV 26, 2021 LISTEN
The convoy came to a halt in Kaya after encountering thousands of anti-French demonstrators. By OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT (AFP)

A French military convoy heading to Mali has reached Niger after being delayed for more than a week by protests in Burkina Faso, the French army said on Friday.

The supply convoy of several dozen vehicles arrived in Africa at Ivory Coast last week and has to transit through Burkina Faso and Niger before arriving in central Mali.

Its destination is a base at Gao -- a hub of France's Barkhane operation, which is shoring up Sahel allies in the Sahel against a jihadist insurgency that began in northern Mali nearly a decade ago.

"The French convoy is in Niger," French military headquarters spokesman Colonel Pascal Lanni told AFP, adding that it resumed its journey late Thursday under the escort of Burkinabe gendarmes.

After entering Burkina Faso last week, the convoy was slowed by protesters at Bobo-Dioulasso, the country's second largest city, and then in Ouagadougou, the capital.

On November 19, several thousand demonstrators blocked the convoy at Kaya, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Ouagadougou.

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 30 kilometres (18 miles) northeast of Ouagadougou, pending the outcome of talks between the government and the protest organisers to let the trucks leave for Niger.

The organisers are a group called the Coalition of the African Patriots of Burkina Faso, or COPA BF.

They say the demonstrations aim to expose flaws in Burkina's security accords with France.

The convoy is heading for a base in Gao, in the troubled centre of Mali.  By  (AFP) The convoy is heading for a base in Gao, in the troubled centre of Mali. By (AFP)

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

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

Burkinabe Foreign Minister Alpha Barry dismissed the rumours on Wednesday and pointed to what he said was France's long history of help at times of crisis.

ModernGhana Links

Join our Newsletter

body-container-line