Burkina Faso’s military Head of State, Ibrahim Traore, has forcefully rejected the allegations made by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo regarding Burkina Faso’s purported involvement with Russian mercenaries, Wagner group.
In an interview with Alain Foka, President Traore labeled Akufo-Addo’s statements as false and emphasized that the accusations made last year are baseless.
“Unfortunately we have seen heads of state [Akufo-Addo] who fell into that lies and went to tell the lie that we supposedly gave mines in our southern part to Russia. That’s a lie,” he said.
“Why give? If the Russians want a mine we have our mining code. They come, they integrate and acquire license they pay their taxes and everything they have to do like everyone else. So, there is nothing we give the Russians,” he stated.
Akufo-Addo had asserted during the US-Africa Summit in Washington last year, that Burkina Faso had engaged Russian mercenaries, particularly the Wagner forces, and suggested that Burkina Faso was compensating them with a mine.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Burkina Faso expressed disapproval of these statements after a meeting with Ghana’s ambassador, highlighting that Ghana could have sought accurate information through diplomatic channels.
Traore asserted, “It is just fake news again,” and clarified that if Russia were to engage in mining activities, they would need to adhere to Burkina Faso’s mining regulations, acquiring licenses and fulfilling tax obligations like any other entity.
Traore expressed his commitment to Burkina Faso’s sovereignty, stating, “If it was the deal to serve one master in place of another master, I would have rather died than do that because we say our ‘homeland or death’.”
He further highlighted the diversity of Burkina Faso’s international relationships, mentioning partnerships with Turkey and China in the fight against terrorism.
Addressing the presence of foreign troops, including Russians, in Burkina Faso, he clarified that there are currently no Russians on the frontline actively involved in combat.