The government of Burkina Faso said on Wednesday that it is “working” on getting a French military convoy that has been prevented by protesters for nearly a week to reach its “final destination”, Mali via Niger.
Security sources said on Monday that, the convoy is waiting in a military enclave located about 30 kilometers northeast of Ouagadougou.
At a press briefing, Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Alpha Barry debunked claims that the convoy is against Baukina Faso.
“We have the wrong enemy here, France is not our enemy. Let me be clear, France is not our enemy. France is an ally in the fight against terrorism. France is with us in the coalition for the Sahel. France is a country that is with us on the ground, and every time we have asked France to intervene, as stipulated in the agreement we have, it has done so when its resources permit.”
The minister assured that “the convoy destined for the French forces in Gao is not a convoy against Burkina Faso and is not going to arm terrorists”, as claimed by false information on social networks.
The minister said convoy is being escorted by the national gendarmerie, making it impossible for the convoy to deliver weapons to terrorists, he insisted.
On Saturday, at least four people were injured in Kaya, the main town in the north-central region of Burkina Faso, where demonstrators were opposing the passage of a large logistical convoy of the French army coming from Ivory Coast.
This convoy had already been slowed down several times by demonstrators since it entered Burkina.
He said that logistical operations are taking place with the French army, especially to transport Burkinabe soldiers to remote areas attacked by jihadist groups.
France, which has been present in the Sahel since 2013 in the fight against jihadist groups, has begun to reduce its presence in the region to 2,500 from 3,000 men by 2023 as compared to over 5,000 previously.