France to withdraw troops from Burkina Faso, as its unpopularity grows in Africa
French troops in Burkina Faso will leave the West African country within a month, officials in France said on Wednesday, the latest deterioration of relations between France and its former African colonies.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the French foreign ministry said it had received notice the previous day that a 2018 agreement on the status of French troops in the country had been terminated.
“In accordance with the terms of the agreement, the denunciation takes effect one month after receipt of the written notification. We will comply with the terms of this agreement by complying with this request.”
France retains some 200 to 400 special forces in its former colony.
On Monday, Burkina Faso’s government said it had decided to end a military accord that allowed French troops to purportedly fight armed groups on its territory because the government wants the country to defend itself.
Burkina Faso’s national television reported on Saturday that the government had suspended a 2018 military accord with Paris on January 18, giving France one month to pull its troops out.
In Africa, France still has military bases in Djibouti, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Niger and Senegal.
However, the planned withdrawal from Burkina Faso underscores the growing anti-French sentiment in Africa.
Last year, the French ambassador and several French media outlets were thrown out from Mali, Burkina Faso’s northern neighbor, while all of its troops were withdrawn under heavy pressure from the Malian government.
France, a former colonizer in Africa, still seeks control over countries spread over more than 12 territories. It has had more than 50 military interventions in the continent since 1960, when many of its former colonies gained nominal independence.