France agrees to pull troops from Burkina Faso, UNHCR warns of vacuum in Sahel – The North Africa Post

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France will withdraw its troops in Burkina Faso in one month to comply with the request of the junta-ruled Burkinabe government. This was announced Wednesday by the French foreign ministry.

“According to the terms of the accord, the termination (of the 2018 agreement on the status of French armed forces present in the country) takes effect a month after reception of written notification,” a ministry spokeswoman said. “We will respect the terms of the agreement by honoring this request.”

About 400 French special forces are currently based in Burkina Faso in a deployment dubbed “Sabre,” part of a broader military presence to fight jihadists across the Sahel region. Burkina Faso followed a similar path to neighboring Mali. After a military coup brought a dictatorship to power, the French presence became increasingly unpopular with the people. Although the Burkinabe government has assured Paris it will not follow Mali by turning to Russia’s Wagner Group to back up its army, a liaison team from the mercenary group has already visited.

The UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, has warned that the departure from Mali by European forces has created a dangerous vacuum. French and European troops departed Mali in November 2013, ending a 14 year-long effort to protect the country’s security from militant Islamists. Mohamed Toure, UNHCR Representative for Mali, said that the French-led counterinsurgency operations, Barkhane, has created a vacuum. This is despite the increasing violence and threats from armed groups. He claims violence and threats from armed groups have triggered mass displacement in this region, including more Than 3,700 Malians and refugees form Burkina Faso, who were forced to flee the city of Gao in eastern Mali to seek safety.


Source: north africa post

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