Burkina Faso coup underscores Russia's rise in West Africa
Burkina Faso’s second coup this year had a striking geopolitical dimension.
Driving the news: Capt. Ibrahim Traore grabbed power on Friday from fellow coup plotter Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Damiba, who he accused of failing to deal with Jihadist extremists. Much of the country is largely outside of the government’s control, and violence is getting worse.
- Supporters of the coup attacked the French Embassy, accusing the French of harboring Damiba, which Paris denied.
- Meanwhile, Traore’s backers also waved Russian flags and called for military support, per AP. Russian mercenaries are active in neighboring Mali, where they’ve been accused of human rights abuses.
- France withdrew its last soldiers from Mali last month after a decade-long intervention, but still has a presence with Niger and has been competing with Russia for influence in its former colonies in West Africa.
What they’re saying: The new junta said Saturday that it wanted to move forward with “other partners,” without naming Russia.
- For its part, the Kremlin said it would "like the situation in Burkina Faso to normalize as soon as possible."