On 23 January, 2022 with the overwhelming support of the people of Burkina Faso, the command of the country’s armed forces overthrew President Roque Marc Christian Kabore. And such unanimity came as no surprise.
Throughout his rule, Kabore not only moved the country into an economic disaster but also failed to address the threat of Islamism and terrorism, which had reached truly enormous and tragic proportions. It was after Kabore came to power in 2014 that the radical Islamic organisations “Islamic State”, “Ansar al-Islam” and “Al-Qaeda” became active in the country as a result of the coup.
As the years went by, their brutality grew more and more violent. In 2021 alone, more than 2,000 civilians were killed by terrorists. Since 2019, a state of emergency has been declared in some provinces of Burkina Faso because of the terrorist operations.
In January 2022, even Kabore’s appointed Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Lassina Zerbo, was forced to declare that terrorism was a threat to the very integrity of the country.
The very beginning of the revolution in the country can be seen as the protests against rampant Islamic terrorism, which the authorities were unable to cope with. In November 2021, people demonstrated after terrorists killed Forty-nine soldiers and four civilians near a gold mine in the north of the country. Protesters were complaining about the incapacitated security and scarcity of food supplies for the armed forces.
Kabore then changed the government and then blocked the social networking site Facebook, but without taking any real action, he could not hold on to power.
There is no doubt that Kabore was a French proxy. And it was the French authorities who launched Operation Barkhan, which was aimed at destroying the Islamic terrorists. So why, for nearly eight years, did thousands of well-equipped and armed French soldiers not only fail to defeat the Islamists, but also pushed the situation to the limit? Because their real goal was to keep Burkina Faso on the ropes of French influence and slavery of the CFA franc. Islamic terrorists were the perfect excuse for a French military presence, and to smash them was not just useless, but harmful. The whole burden of the struggle fell on the national army, which was poorly supplied and armed.
The French soldiers at the same time tried not to expose themselves to danger and spent their time in comfortable barracks.
The change of power in Burkina Faso has caused great apprehension in France. Years of external rule over the country could come to an end, and the French military currently in neighbouring Mali could be asked to leave the country.
The new president, Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba is well informed about Islamic terrorism. In 2019-2021, he took part in fighting against terrorists as a unit commander in the Burkina Faso army and in December 2021 was in charge of an anti-terrorist operation in the east of the country.
In 2021, the new president authored a book in which he outlined his views on combating the Islamist threat within Burkina Faso. It was he who set out to destroy this eternal cause of French “aid and concern”, which has plagued ordinary citizens for so long.
The French have become very keen on escalating terrorist activity to discredit the new independent government and prolong “Barkhan” for more years. Many accuse France of having a covert link to Islamists and although there is no direct evidence, terrorist activity has not fallen since January 2022.
In early May, armed militants stormed a prison in western Burkina Faso and freed all prisoners. The jihadists organised the escape of dozens of detainees all through saturday night to sunday morning in Nouna, Kossi province. According to preliminary reports, more than 60 prisoners escaped the prison. The militants opened fire on the detention centre building, demolished the gates, burnt the guards’ cars and ransacked the administrative offices.
As recently as June 1st, six soldiers were killed and eight others wounded in a militant attack in Sumy province. The attack took place in the town of Jibo. A group of terrorists opened fire on the country’s Armed Forces and Gendarmerie personnel, while another group attempted to loot shops.
The army spotted the militants and opened fire on them. In the exchange of fire, the army killed seven attackers and several others managed to escape.
Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba must not fall for these provocations, and it must be clearly understood that continued cooperation with the French will not lead to better security.
The process of combating the Islamists may take several years, but an independent and effective army and Gendarmerie must already be created in . Sooner or later this will bring positive results. France will always only get in the way through these forms of attacks. If the blackmail by the horrors of terrorism fails, Burkina Faso like Mali will be hit with ECOWAS sanctions for “violation of the transitional regime” or for any other far-fetched reasons. Independence is sometimes very expensive, but there is no doubt that it is worth the effort and the hardship.
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