France officially withdraws last military troops from Burkina Faso
France's mission includes 5,100 troops from five former French colonies in the Sahel region: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.
After a month of protests and demands by the Burkinabe people, France finally withdrew its remaining military from Burkina Faso.
The Burkina military command confirmed in a statement on Sunday that an event took place to mark the end of their presence on Saturday at Camp Bila Zagre, northeast of the capital of Ouagadougou.
Col. Adam Nere, the chief of staff of Burkina Faso’s army, and French Lt. Col. Louis Lecacheur were attendees of the ceremony, which included lowering the French flag.
The withdrawal took place gradually, but surely. Luc Hallade, who served since 2019 as ambassador, was asked to leave Burkina Faso in a letter that the country's government sent in late December to the French Foreign Ministry, according to Le Monde, whose sources in the African nation's government confirmed the content of the letter.
Demonstrations were on the rise against French presence in Burkina Faso in January of this year, as protestors in Ouagadougou chanted anti-France slogans and held banners calling on the French army to leave the country. Some demonstrators have also set French flags on fire, while others used them as trash bags.
As part of a military control project in the Sahel region, around 400 French troops were based in the country. The Ex-colonizer withdrew its troops from Mali last August, as France's mission included 5,100 troops from five former French Ex-colonies in the Sahel region: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.
It is worth noting that France sent troops to the western African country in 2013, under the pretense of defeating jihadists in northern Mali and the Sahel, which never happened considering the increasing number of operations targeting Malian forces. The operation ended in February following the deterioration of France's ties with its ex-colony.
The forces have played critical roles in air power, troop transport, and reconnaissance. France has an air base in Niamey, Niger's capital, where drones are stationed.