from Africa in Transition , Africa Program and U.S. Interests in Africa

French Forces Free Hostages in Burkina Faso With U.S. Help

French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with the special forces soldiers during a national tribute for two soldiers who were killed in a night-time rescue in Burkina Faso of four foreign hostages in Paris, France, on May 14, 2019. Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

May 15, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with the special forces soldiers during a national tribute for two soldiers who were killed in a night-time rescue in Burkina Faso of four foreign hostages in Paris, France, on May 14, 2019. Philippe Wojazer/Reuters
Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on May 10 that French military forces rescued four hostages in Burkina Faso held by Islamist militants. Two were French, one was American, and one was South Korean. The operation cost the lives of two French soldiers.

Burkina Faso is now subject to Islamist attacks similar to those in Mali. Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has congratulated groups operating in Burkina Faso for swearing allegiance to the Islamic State. In an official statement, the French government thanked Burkina Faso and Benin for there “perfect cooperation;” presumably those two countries also played a role in the rescue. The French minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, in a twitter statement praised the “valuable support of our American allies.” However, she provided no details about what that support was.

More on:

Burkina Faso

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

France

United States

Sub-Saharan Africa

Whatever the American involvement was, it is unlikely that there were American casualties. France has by far the largest military contingent in West Africa, some 4,500. The United States has been involved in training of the Burkinabe military, so the total number of U.S. troops present is likely small. In comparison with the uproar over the October 2017 death of four American soldiers in Tongo Tongo, Niger, the French public response to these recent military casualties has been muted. The French commonly regard the former French colonies in West Africa, such as Burkina Faso, as Europe’s “near abroad,” and French public opinion is generally supportive of French military operations in the region, so long as they are small.

More on:

Burkina Faso

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

France

United States

Sub-Saharan Africa

Creative Commons
Creative Commons: Some rights reserved.
Close
This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License.
View License Detail
Close