The protest against French troops in the Sahel continued as the military convoy which was held under siege by Burkinabe youth for over a week was equally met with another protest in Niger, resulting in the death of some civilians with several wounded.
A statement from the Nigerien interior ministry indicated that, after finally crossing from Burkina Faso, the troops were heading towards central Mali when the standoff occurred in Tera, western Niger on Saturday. “The convoy of the French Barkhane force escorted by the national gendarmerie was blocked by very violent protesters in Tera in the Tillaberi region, where it had spent the night,” the ministry said.
The statement revealed that, military shot and killed two Nigerian civilians and wounded several others. “In its attempt to break free, it used force,” resulting in “the deaths of two people and 18 wounded.” The authorities added that 11 among those wounded are facing life-threatening injuries. Similar to the Nigerian situation, about four protestors were equally shot and killed by the troops in the city of Kaya – Burkina Faso with others wounded in attempts to break forcefully.
Pascal Ianni, French army spokesman told reporters that, “the convoy halted last night at Tera. This morning, when they wanted to continue the road to Niamey, they were stopped by 1,000 demonstrators and a violent group among them tried to take over the trucks.” He added that the troops “fired warning shots” after “Tensions soared again” before the supply trucks, which numbered more than hundred, were able to proceed with the journey.
The popular perception among youth in the Sahel is that, the French army is helping the jihadists in the region instead of supporting in the fight against their activities in the region. The youth of Burkina Faso for instance said during their protest against the troops that they suspect the French vehicles were carrying “suspect items.” As a result, they demanded to search the vehicles, as was the case in Niger where the youth attempted to take over the trucks.
What do you think about the agitation of the youth against French troops in the Sahel?