Africa at the hour of reckoning with France

Night has fallen on Paris. However, rue Saint-Dominique, where diplomats and soldiers share a building, and in Hexagone Balard which brings together the staffs of the French armies, anonymous hands are working to counter the flood of “fake news” that flood social media. This Friday, September 30, the outcome of the military coup brought a few hours earlier in Burkina Faso is still uncertain, but the infox – relayed by “Russian officers”according to French sources – accuse France of dropping paratroopers over Bobo-Dioulasso, the country’s second city, to ” save ” Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, came to power eight months earlier thanks to a putsch. Or to shelter him in the base of the French special forces of Kamboinsin in the suburbs of Ouagadougou, in order to organize the response against his former brothers in arms who are preparing to overthrow him. Paris has not yet reacted officially to the events, but a plan has already been imputed to it: to support a head of state wavering against the supposed will of his people.

This putsch will highlight the cracks within the Burkinabe army, unable to stem the jihadist outbreak which is now devouring 40% of the national territory and pushing the population to the limit. It will also be the demonstration that, in a moment of confusion, it is enough to denounce possible French interference to see thousands of young people take to the streets and turn history upside down.

“We have nothing to do with Damiba. It is neither guarded nor protected by French forces., guarantees that evening by SMS a diplomatic source, even before being asked. An exfiltration of the struggling lieutenant-colonel – like the operation which had removed, in 2014, the president of the time just overthrown, Blaise Compaoréto the vindictiveness of the street – is it possible? “It was another timepromptly cut off a military source. Today’s events are being treated as an internal matter in Burkina Faso. » Do the diplomats in charge of Africa, and the officers for whom this continent remains an irreplaceable training ground and strategic operations, foresee the wave that is about to break?

The rejection of Paris, a mobilization tool

The next day, 1er October, an insurgent soldier intervenes on the plateau of the national television of Burkina (RTB) to accuse the rival camp (that of the pro-Damiba) of “prepare a counter-offensive” with the support of Paris. What does it matter the official denials of France, his statement had the effect of a call for popular mobilization. The sequel unfolds according to a now familiar scenario. Stones and Molotov cocktails were hurled at the French Embassy; the French Institutes of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso are ransacked. Young people gather near places associated with a French presence, ready to overflow. Russian flags appear in the angry crowds. No French national was injured, but the economic symbols of the former colonial power (Air France agencies, TotalEnergies stations and premises of the Bolloré group) were vandalized.

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Africa at the hour of reckoning with France

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