4 Protesters Wounded by French Soldiers in Burkina Faso
Story Code : 964767
Protesters are upset about the former colonial power’s involvement in the West African country’s five-year fight against extremists linked to al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIL or ISIS), which has left thousands dead and displaced more than 1.4 million people.
Several protestors in Kaya told AP the French soldiers tried to disperse the crowds by firing warning shots into the ground, but three people were hit in the legs, but Africa news reported that another was one shot in the cheek.
The blockade is the latest in a series of protests across the conflict-riddled nation that began in June and picked up last week after at least 50 gendarmes were killed in the Sahel’s Soum province, the deadliest single attack on the security forces in recent memory. Earlier this month the opposition gave the president a one-month ultimatum to control security or it would organize protests to demand his resignation. A protest is scheduled for Nov. 24.
While France has some 5,000 troops in the region, it has a more limited presence in Burkina Faso at the request of the government and the fact that people are blaming the French for the degradation of security points to a kind of unrest and opposition that goes well beyond France’s actual involvement in the country, said Andrew Lebovich, a policy fellow, at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
“It also shows how the ongoing and worsening insecurity is leading to fairly widespread discontent that is impacting the government, and is likely to get worse,” he said.
On Saturday evening, a few hundred protesters crowded in front of the blockade near the city’s entrance. The French convoy had pulled onto land off the main road, hidden from view with one French armored personnel carrier near the side of the road. Protesters said they won’t allow them through until the French army lets people see what’s inside the trucks, with some people accusing them of arming the extremists.