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Burkina Faso forces throw tear gas at anti-government protests

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Security forces fired tear gas at protesters blocking the streets and hurling stones at the capital, Burkina Faso, as anger mounted over governments’ inability to stop jihadist attacks from spreading across the country.

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso – Security forces fired tear gas at protesters blocking the streets and throwing stones at the capital, Burkina Faso, on Saturday as anger mounted over governments’ inability to stop jihadist attacks from spreading across the country.

Several hundred people marched in downtown Ouagadougou chanting for Roch President Marc Christian Kabore to resign.

Jihadists are hitting (the country), people are dying, others are fleeing their homes. We want Roch and his government to resign because their treatment of the country is not good. We will never support them, said protester Amidou Tiemtore.

The protest in Burkina Faso comes amid an escalation of al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State and Islamic State-linked jihadist attacks that have killed thousands and displaced 1.5 million people.

Violence shows no signs of diminishing. Nearly 12,000 people were displaced within two weeks in December, according to the UN Four French soldiers were also wounded during a joint operation with the Burkina Faso army, the first time French soldiers have been wounded in the country since two were killed in 2019 during a hostage. the release operation, spokesman for the defense chief for the French armed forces, Pascal Ianni, told the Associated Press.

France has about 5,000 troops in the region, but so far there has been minimal involvement in Burkina Faso compared to Nigeria or Mali.

This is the government’s second crackdown on protests since November and comes after the government shut down access to Facebook last week, citing security reasons, and following the arrest of 15 people suspected of plotting a coup.

As tensions rise, the government is trying to curb jihadist violence. Last month the president fired his prime minister and replaced most of the cabinet. According to a military official and a former soldier who did not want to be identified, it is also said that the government wing for national security is preparing to reopen negotiations with the jihadists. The last time the government negotiated secret ceasefire talks with jihadists was around the 2020 presidential election, when fighting eased for several months.

But locals say it is too late for talks and that the country is being invaded by jihadists who control land, raise their flag and make people obey Sharia law.

They just come and get people (out of their homes) and there is no (government) strategy, said Ousmane Amirou Dicko, Emir of Liptako. For the first time since the conflict he said he no longer feels comfortable driving from the capital to his home in the Sahel.

Conflict analysts say the protests are playing into the hands of jihadists and that the country must remain united if it is to succeed.

The protests are a result of pressure from jihadists and is exactly what they want, said Mahamoudou Savadogo, founder of Granada Consulting, a local conflict analysis and research company.

“The concern is that when the government is under pressure, it makes big political and strategic mistakes and the country must remain united.”

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