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Burkina Faso's military leader demands French departure

Military orders French withdrawal from Burkina Faso   -  
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Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso's military government has ordered hundreds of French troops to leave the country within one month.

National broadcaster RTB made the announcement on Saturday (Jan.21), citing the official Agence d'Information du Burkina. The news agency said the decision had been made Wednesday (Jan.18) to end the presence of France's military on Burkinabe soil.

The move comes five months after France completed its withdrawal from Mali after nine years fighting Islamist rebels alongside regional troops.

After the second coup there last year, anti-French protesters began urging the junta to instead strengthen ties with Russia. Mali has already hired Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, who have been accused of widespread human rights abuses there and elsewhere.

But over 60 years after Burkina Faso's independence, France has maintained strong economic and humanitarian aid ties with its former colony.

Saturday's announcement was welcomed by those who had lost patience with France.

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