On November 15, the Burkinabe General Staff sent a letter to the French defense attaché asking him to warn of any planes 48 hours in advance. Otherwise they would be considered « as enemies », according to an official document obtained by AFP.
« Recurrently it is clear that unidentified aircraft fly over our bases and areas of operation (…) From now on, instructions have been given to units deployed to have these aircraft.
Considered as enemies and treated as such », according to this document signed by Chief of Staff Brigadier General Moise Minindou.
« We ask you to inform us 48 hours in advance of any movement of your aircraft in these areas, » the text concluded.
The letter comes as an anti-French sentiment grows in the country plagued by recurrent jihadist attacks and French forces. Are involved in operations in Burkina Faso, as part of the anti-jhadist operation in the Sahel Barkhane.
Joined by telephone from Abidjan, Burkinabe lieutenant-colonel Ismael Diouari confirmed the authenticity of the letter. Stating that it was « a letter addressed to all foreign defense attachés and not only to France ».
« There is no tension. Relationships are good. It’s a match to warn of the need for notice, « he concluded without making any other comment.
In addition to France, which has drones and Mirage operating in the area, the Americans also have armed drones that also fly over the Sahel.
The French army is present in Burkina with a base of 200 men special forces in Kamboinsin, a suburb of Ouagadougou.
Some 4,500 French soldiers are also deployed in the Sahel, as part of Operation Barkhane and they intervene more and more regularly in Burkina.
In total, attacks attributed to jihadist groups, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, others to the Islamic State movement.
have killed nearly 700 people since early 2015, according to an AFP count, and about 500,000 internally displaced persons and refugees. , according to the UN.