By Ebi Kesiena
In a bid to defend itself, the Burkina Faso Government clarified on Monday that it has asked France to pull its troops out of the insurgency-hit country within a month.
France has around 400 special forces soldiers stationed in the junta-ruled Burkina, but relations have deteriorated in recent months.
Speaking on Radio-Television du Burkina government spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo, said the contract was terminated with French forces. He said the decision was not linked to any particular event, but is the normal order of things.
“This is not the end of diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and France. This termination is normal and is foreseen in the terms of the agreement. We want France to hand over responsibility to Burkina Faso for its own defence. The one-month deadline is part of the military agreement” he said.
Burkina Faso’s state news agency had unveiled the request late on Saturday.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said Paris was awaiting clarifications from Ouagadougou over the pullout call.
He said there was “great confusion” over the reports and urged military junta leader Ibrahim Traore to take a public stance.
The government spokesman said Monday: “At the present stage we don’t see how we can make it more clear.”
Burkina Faso is reeling from jihadist violence that swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015.
The insurgency has claimed the lives of thousands and driven at least two million others to flee their homes.
Traore has made reclaiming territory occupied by jihadists a top priority.