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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Russian Military Trainers Arrive in Burkina Faso


Wed 19 Jun 2024 | 02:05 PM
Israa Farhan

Dozens of Russian military trainers have arrived in Burkina Faso, a country grappling with an insurgency following an extremist attack in its troubled northern region, sources confirmed on Tuesday.

In September 2022, Burkina Faso's coup leaders expelled French forces and diplomats, opting to seek military assistance from Russia.

An African diplomatic source, who requested anonymity, stated, "Two planes carrying Russian trainers arrived in Burkina Faso due to the current situation."

The flights reportedly originated from neighboring Mali, which also experienced a coup that brought military leaders with close ties to Moscow to power.

An independent source confirmed the arrival of the trainers, who are believed to be former fighters of the Wagner Group, now reorganized under the name "Africa Corps."

This development follows a visit earlier this month by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Burkina Faso, during which he announced an increase in the number of Russian military trainers in the country.

Lavrov also noted that Russia is training members of Burkina Faso's armed forces and security personnel.

Burkina Faso has been battling extremist insurgents linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS since 2015. This conflict has resulted in thousands of deaths and the displacement of over two million people.

On June 11, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group attacked the northeastern region of Mansila and a military unit near the Niger border.

Although official casualty figures were not released, a security source indicated that the death toll is believed to be significant.

Additionally, on June 12, a mortar shell struck the courtyard of the state-run television network's office, located near the presidential residence in Ouagadougou.

Later that evening, the Burkinabe army denounced "false and unfounded rumors on social media" suggesting a mutiny in some military barracks.