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France recalls ambassador and will withdraw military forces from Burkina Faso

France will withdraw its military forces from Burkina Faso within a month, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN on Wednesday.

Since 2018, the French and Burkina Faso governments have had an agreement allowing the presence of French troops on Burkinabe soil. French troops have been deployed in West Africa since 2013 to fight jihadist groups in the Sahel.

This withdrawal is the latest step back for France’s military footprint in the Sahel region, after the 2022 withdrawal of French forces from Mali following a military coup in the country and the eventual breakdown in relations with the Malian government.

People hold a sign as they gather to show their support to Burkina Faso’s new military leader Ibrahim Traore and demand the departure of the French ambassador at the Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso January 20, 2023. The sign reads : “France’s army get out from our country”. REUTERS/Vincent Bado
Burkina Faso’s military government demands French troops leave the country within one month
The French Armed Forces declined to comment on the composition of the mission in Burkina Faso, adding that it also did not have a comment on how the withdrawal will affect French operations in the Sahel region.

The French foreign ministry said on Thursday it was recalling its ambassador to Burkina Faso, citing “the context of recent developments”, a day after Paris announced it would withdraw its troops from the African country.

Protests by opponents of the French military presence have surged in Burkina, partly linked to perceptions that France has not done enough to tackle an Islamist insurgency that has spread in recent years from neighboring Mali.

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