Military junta in Burkina Faso kicks out two French journalists

By Michael Fitzpatrick - RFI
Burkina Faso  AFPOlympia de Maismont
APR 2, 2023 LISTEN
© AFP/Olympia de Maismont

The military authorities in Burkina Faso have expelled correspondents from France's Le Monde and Libération dailies, the newspapers said on Sunday, the latest move the junta running the west African country has taken against French media. Broadcasts by France 24 were suspended last week.

"Our correspondent in Burkina Faso, Sophie Douce, has been expelled from the country, at the same time as her colleague from Libération, Agnes Faivre," Le Monde said on Sunday.

The women were summoned by the authorities on Friday evening and given 24 hours to leave the country. They landed in Paris on Sunday morning.

Le Monde said it "condemns in the strongest terms this arbitrary decision" and demanded the authorities reverse it.

Libération said that it "vigorously protests these absolutely unjustified expulsions" and suggested they were linked to an investigation it published earlier in the week.

Children executed

"The 27 March publication of a Libération investigation into the circumstances in which a video was filmed showing children and adolescents being executed in a military barracks by at least one soldier evidently strongly displeased the junta in power in Burkina Faso."

Burkina government spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo wrote after the piece was published that "the government strongly condemns these manipulations disguised as journalism to tarnish the image of the country".

Latest move against media

Last week the military junta suspended all broadcasts by France 24, after the news channel interviewed the head of Al-Qaeda North Africa, saying the interview was "part of a process of legitimising the terrorist message and we know the effects of this message in this country".

Burkina has been fighting an islamist insurgency since 2015. Official figures suggest jihadists effectively control about 40 percent of the country.

In December, the Burkina junta suspended Radio France Internationale, accusing the radio station of airing a "message of intimidation" attributed to a "terrorist chief".

Both France 24 and RFI have been suspended in neighbouring Mali.