“Thousands of people demonstrated Friday in Kaya, capital of Burkina Faso’s north-central region, to oppose the passage of a large French army logistics convoy in transit to neighboring Niger, organizers and residents have said.
“French army get out”, “Free the Sahel”, “No more French invasion and recolonization military convoy”, could be read on signs and banners held up by demonstrators, gathered at the entrance of Kaya, according to photos and videos authenticated by AFP.
With their fists in the air, the demonstrators sang the national anthem in front of the French convoy of several dozen vehicles that was still blocked in Kaya on Friday afternoon, according to the demonstrators” (Africanews, 20/11/2021)
French anti-insurgency intervention in the Sahel
“Since the outset of the security crisis in the Sahel, France has been strongly committed to curbing the terrorist threat.
In 2012, terrorist and radical movements threatened Mali’s national integrity and security, and could have taken long-term control over swathes of its territory.
At the request of Mali’s Government, France launched Operation Serval in January 2013 to push back the terrorist groups in North Mali, supporting troops from Mali and other African States. UN Security Council Resolution 2085 of 20 December 2012 highlighted the need for UN Member States such as France to support Mali in its efforts to restore peace and security.
Despite this military engagement, terrorist groups remain active throughout the zone. In 2014, Operation Barkhane succeeded Serval. The aim of Barkhane is for the French forces to provide broader support to the G5 Sahel Member States.
Task Force Takuba was launched on 15 July 2020 following the deployment of forward elements of French and Estonian special forces in the Sahel-Sahara belt” (France Diplomatie, n.d).
Growing anger against France
“Protests against the foreign intervention force have grown in the past week after 50 local police officers were killed in an attack in the northern Soum province bordering Mali.
The French soldiers were on their way to Niger when they were stopped. France has around 5,000 troops in the Sahel region amid the ongoing fight against Islamist militias.
Their presence in Burkina Faso, however, has been limited at the request of the government. Locals hold the French forces responsible for the worsening security situation.
Some people believe that the French are arming the jihadists. Part of the reason for the blockade in Kaya was that residents wanted to see what they were transporting in their vehicles” “(DW, 20/11/2021).