Burkina Faso’s military junta suspends Radio France Internationale (RFI) from broadcasting

File – A man inside a mosque in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. – LOU JONES / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Burkina Faso’s military junta announced Saturday the suspension of Radio France Internationale (RFI) radio station’s operations «until further notice» for giving voice to «a message of intimidation to the population attributed to a terrorist leader.»

The government does not give details but this suspension order coincides after RFI reported this Saturday a video of threats from the jihadist organization of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM).

The announcement of the suspension was made by Burkina Faso’s government spokesman, Jean Emmanuel Ouédraogo, who confirmed that the decision is indefinite and covers RFI’s broadcasts «throughout the national territory».

In its information, published this Saturday on its web site, RFI conveyed the JNIM’s threat against civilians who help the authorities in their fight against the terrorist group.

«This media (RFI) thus contributes to a desperate maneuver of the terrorist groups to dissuade thousands of Burkinabe mobilized for the defense of the Homeland, rowing against the current of the actions underway for the restoration of the integrity of our territory,» according to the statement, picked up by ‘Le Faso’.

Likewise, the Burkinabe government also denounces a report by RFI which pointed to an alleged coup d’état against the military leader of the country, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, which the military officer later denied.

The September coup, considered a ‘palace coup’ by a sector of the army opposed to the then leader of the junta set up after the January coup, Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, took place in the face of the continuous deterioration of the security situation and the attacks by jihadist groups.

Burkina Faso has generally experienced a significant increase in insecurity since 2015, with attacks by both Al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates, leading to a wave of internally displaced persons and refugees to other countries in the region.