Why Russia is supporting coup in Africa

  • Mayeni Jones
  • BBC correspondent in West Africa

Supporters of Burkina Faso's new junta leader Ibrahim Traoré hold national flags of Burkina Faso and Russia during a demonstration near the national radio and television station (RTB) headquarters in Ouagadougou, Oct 6, 2022

Credit, AFP

The most recent coup d’état in Burkina Faso was marred by images of young people waving Russian flags in the streets of the capital, Ouagadougou — something that must have pleased the Kremlin very much.

Although it was a very small number of flags, it sparked speculation that there may have been some Russian involvement in the events that led Captain Ibrahim Traoré to seize power in the country, beset by growing jihadist violence.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and founder of the Wagner Group — a mercenary organization active in several African countries — congratulated the young junta’s leader, describing him as “a truly worthy and courageous son of his motherland”.

“The people of Burkina Faso were under the yoke of the colonialists, who robbed the people and played their vile games, trained, supported gangs of bandits and caused a lot of suffering to the local population,” he said, referring to France, a former colonial power. .

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