Burkina Faso on Saturday ordered the immediate indefinite suspension of Radio France Internationale (RFI) broadcasts, accusing it of putting out a “message of intimidation” attributed to a “terrorist leader”.
By having relayed this message, RFI “is thus contributing to a desperate manoeuvre by terrorist groups to dissuade the thousands of Burkinabe mobilised in defence of their country,” said a statement signed by the spokesman, Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo.
At the beginning of the week, the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM, affiliated to Al-Qaeda), had broadcast a video in which one of its leaders in Burkina Faso threatened to attack villages defended by Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland (VDP), civilian auxiliaries of the army, which has just recruited 90,000 in three weeks to cope with the increase in jihadist attacks.
The government also criticizes RFI, of having included in its press review on Friday “a misleading information, indicating that: The president of the transition, Captain Ibrahim Traore, assures that an attempted coup d’état has targeted his power”.
The communiqué recalled that “on 3 November, the government had already expressed its indignation at the tendentious attitude of journalists of this media (RFI) and their propensity to discredit the struggle in which the Burkinabe people are engaged for more freedom and dignity.
It is the second West African country under military rule, after Mali, to take the French broadcaster off the airwaves this year.
RFI’s management, in a statement late Saturday, said it “deeply deplores this decision and protests against the totally unfounded accusations calling into question the professionalism of its stations”.