Never has a logistics convoy from Barkhane known so many obstacles and hostility from civilians on the route it takes between Côte d’Ivoire and northern Mali. Since he crossed the border between Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, ten days ago, the obstacles and threats against his progress have continued to multiply.
Stranded for a week about 100 kilometers from Ouagadougou after clashes with demonstrators, he was again violently taken to task on Saturday, November 27, just after his arrival in Niger. According to Niamey’s Interior Ministry, the convoy placed “Under the escort of the national gendarmerie” has been locked “By very violent demonstrators in Téra, Tillabéri region, where he spent the night”. “In his attempt to free himself, specifies the ministry, he used force “, killing two and wounding 18, including eleven seriously injured.
The spokesperson for the staff of the French army, Colonel Pascal Ianni, for his part assures 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”. According to Colonel Ianni, only two civilian drivers were injured in the convoy. It resumed its journey to Mali. But calls to oppose its progress continue to be relayed on social networks. Launched mainly by the Coalition des patriotes du Burkina Faso (Copa-BF), a pan-African movement that opposes the presence of French soldiers, these appeals meet with some success with young people exasperated by Barkhane’s inability to drive out the groups. jihadists from the Sahel.
The wildest rumors and accusations circulate in their ranks: Paris is accused of playing a double game, claiming that this convoy brings weapons to armed terrorist groups. France’s rejection continues to grow throughout the sub-region, in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, but also in neighboring countries such as Senegal, Guinea and Benin.
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. The attack, on November 14, of a Burkinabe gendarmerie detachment in Inata (in the north) aroused immense emotion in the country: 57 people, including 53 gendarmes, were killed by jihadists. On November 27, hundreds of Burkinabés demonstrated in Ouagadougou to denounce growing insecurity and demand the departure of the head of state, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. According to the head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, this exasperation shown by the demonstrations against Barkhane’s convoy would be instrumentalized by foreign powers like Russia. After having got hold of the Central African Republic, a former French colony, Moscow would be reproducing the same scenario in Mali and Burkina Faso, confides in The cross a French security source.
At the opening of a China-Africa summit in Dakar on Sunday, Senegalese Foreign Minister Aïssata Tall Sall said she hoped China would provide support in the fight against insecurity in the Sahel.