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Demonstrations, repression, Internet cut ... what is happening in Burkina Faso?


After the blockade of a French military convoy for a week, which was able to leave on Thursday, major demonstrations were organized

The situation is tense in Burkina Faso where the population deplores the inaction of the authorities in the face of terrorism.

This Saturday, several hundred demonstrators were dispersed in the capital Ouagadougou after which barricades were set up in several areas of the city, creating clashes between the population and the police.

At least one child was injured.

Why is the population demonstrating?

It has been several weeks since a revolt has been brewing in Burkina Faso. The demonstrators deplore a certain "incapacity" of the power to fight against the jihadist attacks. For several weeks, the attacks have multiplied in this neighboring country of Côte d'Ivoire. From May to August, the Norwegian Refugee Council pointed out in September, 480 people were killed in Burkina Faso in these attacks. Since April, continued the non-governmental organization (NGO), 55,000 people per month were forced to flee their homes to flee violence ...

On November 14, 57 people - including 53 gendarmes - died in an attack on a gendarmerie detachment in Inata (north) which had previously called for help - one of the deadliest against the security forces in six years. This umpteenth attack was a drop in the bucket for the population, believing that the State was not putting enough resources into defeating terrorism. "When we see that the children are sacrificing themselves for the nation and that behind there is no substantial support, it really hurts the heart," lamented earlier this week to RFI Issa Santi, a friend and neighbor of a police gendarme.

"After seven years of incapacity in the face of the terrorist attacks which mourn us every day, it is time to ask for the departure of the regime," Fabrice Sawadogo, 28, told AFP.

Like hundreds of other people, he tried to demonstrate this Saturday in Ouagadougou.

"We do not have to negotiate with an incompetent government which has to admit that it has failed," he added.

Other demonstrations were taking place this Saturday elsewhere in the country, in particular in Bobo Dioulasso and Kaya.

The November 27 Coalition, bringing together three civil society organizations, called on "all Burkinabè to come out en masse" on Saturday "in a peaceful atmosphere, to denounce the growing insecurity and demand the departure of the Head of State" , Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.

How are the demonstrations perceived?

The power in place does not appreciate the demonstrations very much. The one organized on Saturday in Ouagadougou was dispersed by riot police using tear gas to prevent demonstrators from gathering at Place de la Nation. The center of the Burkinabè capital had been crisscrossed by an important security device. All businesses were closed, an AFP journalist also observed.

After this muscular dispersion, young people erected makeshift barricades and burned tires in several districts of the capital. Protesters also vandalized part of the civil status department, after trying to burn down the Ouagadougou town hall building, whose demonstrations the mayor had banned. "We had come out for a peaceful march, but the reaction of the security forces set fire to the powder, forcing us to erect barricades", declared one of the demonstrators, adding: "We do not want to burn the country which is already at war, but in the face of barbarism, we will defend ourselves. "

During the violence, a child under the age of 10 was injured by tear gas fire and handed over by the demonstrators to a riot unit of the gendarmerie. Two Burkinabè journalists were also injured during tear gas fire, their media, the private Omega radio station and the Filinfos online site announced, without the seriousness of their injuries being known. A spokesperson for the “November 27 Coalition”, Hervé Ouattara, spoke of “a lot of wounded”, of which “two are in a coma”, which could not be confirmed from an independent source. In a statement on national television, the Minister of Security Maxime Koné said that there had been "a certain number of wounded" among the security forces, but he indicated that he did not yet have a death toll in the areas. two camps.

The government has "decided to extend the suspension of mobile Internet for a period of 96 hours from Wednesday", throughout the national territory, after a previous interruption of four days for "security reasons".

"We must put an end to the unacceptable dysfunctions which undermine the morale of our fighting troops and hamper their effectiveness in the fight against armed terrorist groups," President Kaboré declared Thursday evening, words often repeated which no longer convince in the country.

And the blocked French convoy?

It is in this context that a convoy of French soldiers, en route to Mali, was blocked for nearly a week by demonstrators, accusing the French army of supplying the jihadists with arms. When he entered Burkinabè territory last week, he was first slowed down in his progress by demonstrators in Bobo Dioulasso (southwest), then in the capital Ouagadougou (center). But it was a week ago in Kaya, a hundred km northeast of Ouagadougou, that the demonstrators were most mobilized against his passage. Four of them had been shot and wounded in undetermined circumstances.

The convoy was finally able to leave Thursday evening "under escort of Burkinabè gendarmes," said the spokesperson for the French general staff, Colonel Pascal Lanni.

Arrived in Niger, however, the convoy was once again attacked by demonstrators in Téra, in western Niger.

According to the mayor of the town, the clashes around the convoy would have killed three people.

Source: leparis

All news articles on 2021-11-27

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