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Burkinabe youth block French military convoy, demands to see content of their vehicles

The growing call for French soldiers to leave the Sahel has reached its peak as youth in the city of Kaya, Burkina Faso blocked a French military convoy which was heading towards Niger and demanded two things: For the French troops to leave their country and also open their vehicles for them to conduct a search. The incident which started from Thursday evening, got intense on early Friday morning and lasted the entire afternoon.

The youth of Kaya happened to be the latest to have confronted the French convoy. According to local media, there was a standoff between the protestors in Obo and the capital Ouagadougou prior to the grand protest in the city of Kaya.

Explaining the occurrence, Boukaré Ouédraogo who is the mayor of Kaya told reporters that, by his estimates, the protestors who remain “inflexible’ to negotiations will run into thousands of people.

The youth held the convoy under siege, demanding they leave the country immediately. “Kaya says to the French army to go home,” one of the placards of the protestors read. Aside the open call for the French troops to leave, the youth also told reporters that they asked the soldiers to open their vehicles for them to check for what they termed “suspect items.”

“We asked them to open their vehicles so that we have an idea of the contents,” a protester identified as Bassirou Ouedraogo told Reporters, adding that, “we know what is inside: suspect items.” A follow-up comment from a protestor who was posting live feeds from the grounds in Kaya, identified as MC Lamine Coach said “The French army is returning to Ouagadougou. They refused to let us search the convoy! I’m proud of my Kaya.”

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.

The report also indicated that, this position as widely shared by the youth was based on the fact that insecurity in the region keeps getting worse despite the presence of French soldiers. In a recent development, an attack from the insurgents this past Sunday saw the death of 49 Burkinabe military police officers and four civilians, adding to the numerous casualties suffered in the region.

As things stand now, French troops remain very unpopular among youth in the Sahel region and beyond. The current resistance sums up the agitation of the people against the idea of France maintaining military presence in Africa. What do you think of the development?

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