By Ebi Kesiena
Against the backdrop of tensions with France, Burkina Faso’s junta chief Captain Ibrahim Traore has maintained that his country is not the enemy of the French people, but of the policies of its government.
Captain Traore stated this in an interview with the state channel RTB broadcasted on Thursday.
According to the Junta Chief, for cooperation to occur, both countries have to accept seeing each other as equals.
“We are not the enemy of the French people, it’s the policies of those governing France which is the problem in Africa.
“As long as a state doesn’t have an imperialistic mindset … there’s no problem
“They have to accept an overhaul of our entire cooperation,” he said.
Reflecting on Burkina’s past relationship with France, Traore stated that the relationship brought underdevelopment to Burkina.
“They brought in people to sign lots of agreements which prevent us from developing,” he said, without elaborating.
“Imperialistic states are not limited to France — there are others,” he added.
Traore also suggested that France had been ineffective in helping the Burkinabe army fight a long-running anti-jihadist insurgency.
As France withdrew troops from its former colony in the face of mounting hostility after Captain Ibrahim Traore seized power in September 2022, Burkina has developed closer contacts with Russia, an ally of the junta in neighboring Mali.
Traore in July met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russia-Africa summit in Saint Petersburg, and last week held talks with a Russian delegation on development and military cooperation.
More than two million people have also been forced from their homes, creating one of Africa’s worst crises of worst internal displacement.