Burkinabé police fire tear gas at protesters angry at rising jihadist violence


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Security forces fired tear gas at protesters barricading streets and throwing rocks in Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday, as anger grows over the government’s failure to stop jihadist attacks from spreading across the country. country.

Several hundred people marched through downtown Ouagadougou chanting the resignation of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.

“The jihadists are hitting (the country), people are dying, others are fleeing their homes. … We want Roch and his government to resign because their management of the country is not good. We will never support them,” said protester Amidou Tiemtore.

Some people were also demonstrating in solidarity with neighboring Mali, whose citizens are angry at the West African regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, which imposed sanctions on the country after the ruling junta delayed elections this year.

Burkina Faso’s protest comes amid an escalation in jihadist attacks linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State that have killed thousands and displaced 1.5 million.

The violence shows no signs of abating. Nearly 12,000 people were displaced in two weeks in December, according to the UN. Four French soldiers were also injured in a joint operation with the Burkinabe army, the first time French soldiers have been injured in the country since two were killed in a 2019 hostage situation. liberation operation, said Pascal Ianni, spokesman for the chief of defense of the French armies, to The Associated Press.

France has some 5,000 troops in the region but has so far had minimal involvement in Burkina Faso compared to Niger or Mali.

The country “invaded by jihadists”

It is the second government crackdown on protests since November and comes after the government shut down access to Facebook last week, citing security concerns, and after arresting 15 people for allegedly planning a coup. State.

As tensions rise, the government is struggling to stem jihadist violence. Last month, the president sacked his prime minister and replaced most of the cabinet.

The government’s national security arm is also reportedly preparing to reopen negotiations with the jihadists, according to a military official and a former soldier who declined to be identified.

The last time the government brokered secret ceasefire talks with the jihadists was around the 2020 presidential elections, when fighting died down for several months.

But locals say it’s too late for talks and the country is overrun by jihadists who control swaths of land, plant their flag and force people to obey Sharia law.

“They just come and take people out (from their homes) and there is no (government) strategy,” said Ousmane Amirou Dicko, the emir of Liptako. For the first time since the conflict, he said he no longer felt comfortable driving from the capital to his home in the Sahel.



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