Burkina Faso expels three French diplomats due to “subversive activities”

Three French diplomats, including two political advisers at the French embassy in Ouagadougou, were declared “persona non grata” for “subversive activities” and ordered to leave Burkina Faso “in the next 48 hours”, according to the Burkinabe Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs.

These three diplomats “are declared persona non grata on the territory of Burkina Faso, for subversive activities”, writes the ministry in a note dated Tuesday and addressed to the French embassy in Ouagadougou, a copy of which France 24 obtained on Thursday April 18 .

France deplored this decision on Thursday. “(It) is not based on any legitimate basis. We can only deplore it,” declared Christophe Lemoine, deputy spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who also deemed the accusations against the French.

On December 1, four French officials – designated as intelligence agents by the Burkinabè authorities, computer maintenance technicians according to a French diplomatic source – were arrested in Ouagadougou, indicted and then imprisoned, according to the French source.

They are today under house arrest, according to security sources in Burkina.

A year earlier, in December 2022, the Burkinabè government had expelled two French people who worked for a Burkinabè company, suspected by the authorities of being spies.

Strained relationships

A few months later, Ouagadougou denounced a 1961 military agreement with France, after obtaining the withdrawal of French forces. The French ambassador in Ouagadougou, recalled after the coup, has not been replaced since.

In its desire to diversify its partnerships, Burkina Faso has notably moved closer to Russia and its two neighbors, Mali and Niger, also governed by military regimes.

The three countries have been facing recurring jihadist attacks for several years from groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

In Burkina alone, they have caused some 20,000 civilian and military deaths and around two million displaced people since 2015.

This article is originally published on france24.com

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