Sahel: a convoy of the Barkhane force crystallizes the rejection of France

It is the convoy of all rejections. Never before has a Barkhane logistics mission experienced so many obstacles and hostilities from civilians on the route it takes between Côte d’Ivoire and Gao, in northern Mali. The obstacles and threats against his progress have continued to multiply since he crossed the border between Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso ten days ago.

→ EXPLANATION. In Burkina Faso, a convoy of the French army trapped

Stranded for a week about 100 kilometers from Ouagadougou after clashes with demonstrators, he was again violently taken to task on Saturday, November 27, the day after his arrival in Niger. According to the Nigerien interior ministry, “The convoy of the French force Barkhane under escort of the national gendarmerie on the way to Mali was blocked by very violent demonstrators in Téra, region of Tillabéri, where it spent the night”. He is pointing out that,“In his attempt to free himself he used force”, killing two and wounding 18, including eleven seriously injured.

Popular opposition

The spokesperson for the staff of the French army, Colonel Pascal Ianni, ensures that a violent group among the demonstrators “Tried to seize the trucks”. At the height of the tension, “Nigerien gendarmes and French soldiers fired warning shots”. If nothing is said, on the side of Paris, on the number of victims among civilians, Colonel Ianni specifies that“No French soldier was injured”, Unlike in “Two civilian drivers”.

The convoy was then able to resume its journey towards Mali. But, like last week in Burkina Faso, then this weekend in Niger, calls to oppose its progress are relayed on social networks. Launched mainly by the Coalition of Patriots of Burkina Faso (Copa-BF),a vast pan-African movement opposed to the presence of French soldiers, these appeals met with some success with young people exasperated by Barkhane’s inability to drive out jihadist groups from the Sahel. The wildest rumors and accusations circulate in their ranks: France is accused of playing a double game in the Sahel, claiming that this convoy brings weapons to armed terrorist groups. Words and actions expressing and nourishing a rejection of France which continues to progress throughout the sub-region. Not only in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, but also in neighboring countries such as Senegal, Guinea and Benin.

An outlet

For Paris, this Barkhane convoy serves as an outlet for the frustration of the Sahelian populations in the face of the advance of jihadist groups. And to recall that the blockades of which it is the object follow the immense emotion aroused in the country by the attack, on November 14, of a detachment of gendarmerie in Inata (north of Burkina Faso): 57 people, including 53 gendarmes, killed by armed jihadists.

The day after the convoy left Burkina Faso, hundreds of Burkinabés demonstrated in Ouagadougou fordenounce the growing insecurity and demand the departure of the Head of State, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, this Saturday. Launched at the call of the Coalition of November 27, this initiative is reminiscent of that of the June 5 Movement which led to the fall of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta on August 18, 2020.

Russian manipulation?

The exasperation shown by the demonstrations against the Barkhane convoy, analyzes the head of French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian, would also be instrumentalized by foreign powers such as Russia. After having got hold of the Central African Republic, considerably weakening France in its former colony, Moscow is said to be reproducing the same scenario in Mali and Burkina Faso, confides in The cross a French security source.

“Russia wants to weaken us, and why not drive us out of theAfrica, she explains. We have already lost Bangui. Moscow continues its march forward. “” It is all the easier for him as Emmanuel Macron announced our withdrawal from Mali, notes Thierry Vircoulon, from the French Institute of International Relations, pushing Bamako to seek another protector. “


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