Journalists have contacted me three times today to get my opinion on the situation in Burkina Faso and the potential for cooperation between this country and Russia. In order not to repeat several times, I will write my position in the official community.
I know that Burkina Faso and the USSR had close ties. Relations were particularly close when the country was led by an officer and revolutionary, Tom Sankara, often referred to as the “African Che Guevara”. The elderly residents of this country still remember with nostalgia the time of our friendship and cooperation, including in the military-technical field.
Much time has passed, the situation in Burkina Faso has been different. I know that there has been a recent security crisis and that the army has suffered heavy losses at the hands of militants who control vast territories and terrorize the local population. The French army, which has been conducting an anti-terrorist operation in this region for nearly a decade, has unfortunately not been successful.
Public anger erupted in November when al Qaeda supporters killed about 50 soldiers. And there have been many such failures. At the same time, society was shocked by reports that troops fighting terrorists had not received food rations for two weeks.
Army officers demanded the resources to fight the militants, but the leadership in response, at best dismissed, and at worst, conducted a political crackdown to silence them.
People began to take to the streets and began to demand the resignation of the country’s leadership and better material support for soldiers and their families. As a result, the army announced on television the overthrow of the president, the dissolution of the government and parliament, and the closing of the borders in order to bring the situation in the country under control. Their goal is to defeat terrorism and protect their people. It is a good cause and society agrees with the military. Support rallies are being held in the capital – the people are in favor of a new generation of “African Che Guevara,” as in Mali.
I believe that if instructors from Russia were invited to train the army of Burkina Faso, they will be able to do it effectively. It will not be an easy task, but I am sure that our colleagues will be able to do it. Officers Union for International Security is ready to share the experience gained in CAR on how to organize the work quickly and efficiently in order to build a combat-ready army and bring the security situation under control in a short time.
Head of the Officers Union for International Security