Residents Of Burkina Faso Block Advance Of French Military Convoy - Reports

Residents of Burkina Faso Block Advance of French Military Convoy - Reports

Residents of Burkina Faso have blocked the advance of French troops fighting terrorists in the Sahel region towards Niger, media reported on Friday

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 19th November, 2021) Residents of Burkina Faso have blocked the advance of French troops fighting terrorists in the Sahel region towards Niger, media reported on Friday.

French forces have been redeploying from Mali to Niger since November 16. One of its convoys faced discontent of local residents who blocked roads in several settlements. According to the national news agency AIB, the incident took place in the northern part of the country.

The military reportedly managed to get through the settlements of Bobo-Dioulasso and the capital of Ouagadougou. However, on Thursday morning, it was blocked at the entrance to the city of Kaya. Local residents met the military with flags and posters "Down with France", "This is our home. Get out," AIB said. According to the local newspaper Sidwaya, some demonstrators set fire to the French flag.

Overnight, the citizens reportedly kept guard to make sure that the convoy would not continue on its way. Residents from the surrounding villages came to help the citizens. The protesters were building fires and making tea to keep warm while on duty, AIB said.

A traffic jam formed on the toll road where the convoy got stuck.

Police and gendarmerie vehicles served as a barrier between the citizens and the French military. According to the news agency, the demonstrators stood their ground despite the mediation of local authorities.

Eyewitnesses told Sidwaya that fuel tanks and trailers with food supplies of the French military had already turned back to Ouagadougou. However, tanks and armored vehicles reportedly remained in place.

The Sahel region, which is notorious for terrorist activities, has high levels of poverty and regular outbreaks of violence. Over the past three years, the Sahel countries Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have seen a surge in armed violence, as a result of which over 1.4 million people have been displaced in the region.

France has been conducting Operation Barkhane against terrorist groups in the Sahel region since August 1, 2014.

In June, Macron announced changes to the country's military presence in the region, including plans to finish the counterterrorism operation by the first quarter of 2022. The French leader said that a broader international effort would be made instead.