Crime & Justice

Russia: Burkinabe people’s ideal ally against jihadism

By Tiga Cheick Sawadogo

Ouagadougou, Jun 22 (EFE).- Russia is the ideal partner in the fight against jihadism according to Burkina Faso’s citizens, who have been pressuring authorities to turn to Moscow’s help for several years.

While the African country regularly suffers jihadist attacks, both from the Islamic State and Al Qaida, and which have already caused nearly 2 million displaced people, some voices blame France, the country’s main partner, for its lack of results.

Russian flag in hand, Abdouramane Sanfo demonstrated on Jan. 25 in the Revolution Square of the capital Ouagadougou, a day after the coup led by Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba.

“We agree to support the military, but on one condition. That they do not work with France. We want Damiba to follow in the footsteps of Assimi Goita (military coup leader and president of the transition from Mali),” the young man told EFE at the time.

“The Russians are sincere. We have been cooperating with France for years in the fight against terrorism, but we don’t see any results,” he added.

Voices such as Abdouramane’s are being heard more and more in Burkina Faso.

Issoufou Nyamba leads the Burkinabe civil society movement Coalition of African Patriots of Burkina Faso and is among those who blocked a French military convoy headed from the Ivory Coast to Niger in November in Kaya, a town 100 kilometers north of Ouagadougou.

According to him, it was a way of denouncing the double game of France, which intervenes alongside Burkina Faso in the fight against jihadism.

“After seven years of collaboration, it is a clear failure. The crisis has continued to deepen. Imperialism is not afraid of governments. It is the organized peoples who manage to push it back. Blocking the convoy was a way of raising awareness among the population,” Nyamba told EFE.

“Why not (look at) Russia if it is she who will allow us to get out of this quagmire?” said the young activist, who militates so new authorities turn to the country.

Supporters of the Russian option point to Mali, which collaborates with the country of Vladimir Putin, as an example.

Professor and researcher at the Joseph Ki-Zerbo University, Zakaria Sore, a sociologist interested in issues related to security, told EFE that the Malian case inspires some Burkinabe.

“There is a kind of butterfly effect in this battle against terrorism. The Burkinabe follow what is happening in Mali and they have the impression that, since the Russians entered the game, things are changing and the relationship of forces is in favor of the Malian national armed forces,” he said.

Sore said that after the coup in Burkina Faso, the Burkinabe are expecting a reinforcement between Bamako and Ouagadougou in the fight against jihadism with the support of Russia.

“In a year of collaboration with Russia, we have seen an improvement in the equipment and logistics of the Malian state. It is these results that influence the collective consciousness of Burkina Faso and Africa,” Nyamba said.

According to Sore, young Burkinabe see Assimi Goita as a new revolutionary figure who is fighting to break free from the French yoke and to cut the umbilical cord with the old colonizing power “in which we have never trusted.” EFE


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