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Burkina Faso junta leader refutes reports of army mutiny

Written by on June 21, 2024

Burkina Faso’s military leader, Ibrahim Traore, appeared on national TV on Thursday to refute reports of mutiny within the army following an attack by al Qaeda-linked insurgents that resulted in the deaths of over 100 soldiers near the border with Niger.

In his first public comments since the assault, Traore did not directly address the claim of responsibility by an al Qaeda-linked group. However, he stated that Burkina Faso had initiated an operation and deployed additional troops following the attack.

Amid speculation about his safety following gunfire near the presidency and a rocket shell near RTB Television’s headquarters in Ouagadougou on June 12, Traore assured the public of his safety and denied any mutiny allegations.

“There is absolutely no mutiny. We are here,” Traore affirmed to those gathered in front of RTB’s headquarters. “The incident occurred while we were in the council of ministers.”

Regarding the rocket incident at RTB, Traore explained that it was mistakenly launched into the courtyard by personnel safeguarding the TV channel’s staff. He clarified that while there were injuries, fortunately, no fatalities occurred.

In recent days, reports indicated that Russian reinforcements and Malian officials were flown in to enhance Traore’s security following discussions between the two countries’ juntas, according to sources familiar with the talks.

he reports point to the close ties between the neighbouring junta-led states and their growing reliance on Russia rather than Western powers for security support in a West African region beset by political instability and Islamist insurgencies.

A Russian-registered cargo plane made seven trips to Ouagadougou from Gao and Bamako in Mali between June 15 and June 18, according to a Reuters analysis of flight tracking data on FlightRadar24.

In his address, Traore said six Russian planes had flown from Gao carrying U.N. equipment following the conclusion of a mission there.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A day before the events in Ouagadougou, the West African Sahel nation’s army suffered one of the deadliest attacks in Mansila area. Responsibility for that attack was claimed by Al Qaeda affiliate Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) group.

The SITE Intelligence Group quoted a JNIM statement as saying that “fighters stormed a military post in the town, where they killed 107 soldiers and took control of the site”.

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