Burkina junta orders France 24 off air after al-Qaeda interview

By AFP / Ouagadougou,

Burkina Faso’s new junta leader Captain Ibrahim Traore (C) leaves the General Sangoule Lamizana military camp in Ouagadougou on October 8, 2022, following the funerals of 27 soldiers killed as they escorted 207 vehicles in a convoy.
 Issouf Sanogo | AFP

The junta in Burkina Faso on Monday suspended all broadcasts by the France 24 news channel in the west African country after it interviewed the head of al-Qaeda North Africa.

Burkina Faso is battling a jihadist insurgency that spilled over from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

“By opening its channel to the head of AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), France 24 not only acts as a communications agency for these terrorists, but also offers … legitimacy to terrorist actions and hate speech,” the junta spokesman said, referring to a March 6 interview with AQIM head Abu Ubaydah Yusuf al-Annabi.

“Therefore the government has decided… to suspend sine die the diffusion of France 24 programmes on all national territory,” spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo said.

The France 24 broadcast was cut around 0900 GMT on Monday, AFP journalists said.

On March 6, France 24 broadcast written replies given by al-Annabi to 17 questions asked by the news channel’s specialist on jihadist questions, Wassim Nasr.

“The government is disheartened to see that the head of a terrorist organisation like AQIM and recognised as such by the entire international community can take advantage of the editorial generosity of France 24 to talk at length on the channel’s airwaves,” the junta’s statement said.

France 24 hit back branding the Burkinabe government statement “outrageous and defamatory”.

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