Burkina Faso: Grenade Attack Marks Start of Macron's Burkina Visit

Photo: fasozine
French president Emmanuel Macron and his Burkinabé counterpart Roch Kaboré à Ouagadougou.

Three people were wounded in a grenade attack in Ouagadougou on Monday shortly before French President Emmanuel Macron in Burkina Faso for the opening leg of a three-day Africa tour.

Two masked individuals riding a motor scooter threw a grenade at a French army vehicle heading for a barracks housing French special services, security forces told RFI.

Three residents of the area were wounded, one of them seriously, but the vehicle was not hit. Macron arrived three hours later for the start of a tour aimed at reinforcing France's influence in west Africa, combating armed Islamists in the Sahel region and stemming the continent's migrant exodus.

Democratic aspirations

"This is a new stage for our relationship with your country and the whole continent," Macron told reporters shortly after being greeted by his Burkinabé counterpart Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.

He praised his host country for shaking off the 27-year authoritarian rule of former President Blaise Compaoré in a 2014 popular uprising in which large numbers of young people participated.

Burkina "is an emblem of the democratic aspirations of Africa's youth", Macron said, adding that that was why he was starting his tour in the country.

Address to students

There was criticism of the visit by young Burkinabés on social media.

They complained about France's support for authoritarian African leaders, including Compaoré, whom it helped leave the country fo Côte d'Ivoire after his fall, and French companies lucrative business deals in the region.

On Wednesday, Macron was to deliver a speech to 800 students at the University of Ougadougou followed by an "unfiltered" question-and-answer session with his young audience.

He was also scheduled to witness the opening of a giant new solar power plant, before leaving for the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan for the fifth Europe-Africa summit, attended by more than 80 leaders from the two continents.

The last stop on his tour is to be the former British colony Ghana, for the first visit by a French president, chosen for its business potential and as a sign that Macron is turning the page on Françafrique, the close relationship between Paris and autocratic leaders in its former colonies.

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: RFI

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.