Burkina Faso junta expels 3 French diplomats over alleged subversive activities

The military Junta ruling Burkina Faso have expelled three French diplomats for alleged subversive activities, according to a government document posted on social media Thursday.

The Junta named the three diplomats, two of whom are political advisors, and declared they were persona non grata in Burkina Faso, according to the document signed by the ministry of foreign affairs Tuesday. They have 48 hours to leave the country.

The document did not give details about the alleged subversive activities.

The French foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday that it regretted the decision to expel its diplomats and rejected the accusations, stating its activities in Burkina Faso were within the United Nations framework for diplomatic and consular relations.

“The decision of the Burkinabè authorities is not based on any legitimate basis,” said the statement. “We can only deplore it.”

The expulsion comes amid deteriorating relations between Burkina Faso and France, its former colonial ruler.

Soldiers loyal to Burkina Faso’s latest post-coup leader, Ibrahim Traore.

The military junta severed military ties with France in 2023, ordering hundreds of French troops to depart the West African country within a month, following in the path of neighbouring Mali, also headed by a coup leader.

More than 60 years after Burkina Faso’s independence, French remains an official language and France has maintained strong economic and humanitarian aid ties with its former colony.

As the Islamist extremist insurgency has deepened, however, anti-French sentiment has spiked, thanks in part to the unabating violence.

After a second coup in 2023, anti-French protesters began urging the junta to strengthen ties with Russia instead.

The junta is also distancing itself from regional and Western nations that disagree with its approach. This year, it left the West African regional economic bloc known as ECOWAS and created an alliance with Mali and Niger.

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