In a recent development in Burkina Faso, four French nationals found themselves detained in Ouagadougou, sparking questions about their alleged role as agents of French foreign intelligence. The arrests took place on December 1, with French authorities denying any espionage activities.
The four individuals, described as technicians and holding valid diplomatic passports, were reportedly on a mission to conduct computer maintenance for the French Embassy in Ouagadougou. Despite the official nature of their assignment, they were arrested two weeks later and subsequently incarcerated at the capital’s Maco detention facility.
According to “Jeune Afrique”, the detained individuals are believed to be operatives of the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), the French external intelligence services, accused of engaging in “espionage.” The magazine asserts that these agents entered Burkina Faso legally for an official mission.
Despite growing tensions between France and Burkina Faso, Jeune Afrique contends that intelligence cooperation between the two nations persisted, both technically and operationally.
This information aligns with reports from the AFP, citing a European diplomatic source, indicating that the four French detainees are familiar to their Burkinabè counterparts. Ongoing negotiations are reportedly underway to secure their release amid the diplomatic complexities surrounding the incident.
The incident raises questions about the delicate balance between diplomatic relations and intelligence activities in the region. As the situation unfolds, the arrest of these French officials in Burkina Faso underscores the challenges of maintaining cooperation in an environment where suspicions of espionage can strain even longstanding partnerships.