Burkina Faso has decided to expel the military attaché from the French embassy, accused of “subversive activities”, giving him two weeks to leave the country, indicates an official letter consulted on Friday September 15 by AFP.
“The government of Burkina Faso has decided (…) to withdraw the approval of Mr. Emmanuel Pasquier, defense attaché at the French embassy in Burkina Faso for subversive activities,” wrote the Burkina Faso Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a letter addressed Thursday in Paris, giving him and his team “a period of two weeks to leave Burkina Faso territory”.
The letter gives no explanation concerning the “subversive activities” accused of the defense attaché. The Burkinabé government, resulting from a coup d’état, has also decided to close the Burkinabé military mission in Paris, indicates this letter.
“The accusation of subversive activities is obviously fanciful,” reacted a spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris.
Relations between France and Burkina have continued to deteriorate since Captain Ibrahim Traoré came to power in a military coup in September 2022, the second in eight months. In March, Burkina Faso denounced a 1961 military agreement with France, a few weeks after demanding and obtaining the withdrawal of the French “Sabre” force from this country plagued by jihadist violence.
The government had also requested the permanent departure of all French military personnel serving in the Burkinabé military administrations. The French ambassador to Ouagadougou was recalled after the coup d’état of September 2022 and has not been replaced since.
Since 2015, in the wake of its neighbors Mali and Niger also led by the military, Burkina has been caught in a spiral of violence perpetrated by jihadist groups affiliated with the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. They have caused more than 17,000 civilian and military deaths since 2015, including more than 6,000 since the start of 2023, according to the NGO Acled.