Burkina Faso: Government extends internet shutdown following standoff with French troops in Kaya

Burkinabe government has announced that internet suspension which was implement after the standoff between the youth of Kaya and the French troops has been extended. The authorities claim the decision was taken to ensure “public safety” but political thinkers hold a different view.

A statement from the country’s communications ministry said the government “has decided to extend the suspension of mobile Internet for a period of 96 hours.” However, critics held a different view which was drawn from the inconsistency of government communication.

Political thinkers accused the Kaboré administration of deliberately muting the country to restrict information on the excesses of French troops in the country, especially the incident in Kaya which was widely circulated on social media.

Recall that, we earlier reported how the youth of Kaya blocked a French military convoy from crossing into Niger whilst demanding that the troops open their vehicles for them to inspect for what they termed “suspect items.” A protestor earlier told reporters that, “we asked them to open their vehicles so that we have an idea of the contents,” adding that, “we know what is inside: suspect items.”

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The soldiers in a bid to disperse the crowd fired shots into the human barricade which ended up injuring about four people. A refusal of the soldiers to open the vehicles for inspection has kept them behind the human traffic for almost a week as the youth quickly remobilized to prevent them upon tip off that, the troops were using an alternative route in the Capital, Ouagadougou.

According to monitored conversation as reported by Reuters, Burkinabe youth and those of other surrounding countries hold a general view that, France is contributing to the crisis in the region by working with the jihadists whilst pretending to be fighting them. Part of the demands of the Burkinabe youth who refuse to yield to negotiations from the authorities is that, France should withdraw its troops from their country.

This back and forth undoubtedly contributed to the internet suspension. Do you think internet shutdown amidst such delicate situations is advisable?

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