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Burkina Faso Expels Two French Journalists 

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FILE - Police officers drive on a vehicle during a protest called to draw attention to the jihadist threat, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, July 3, 2021.

Burkina Faso’s government has expelled two French journalists following publication of a report about alleged child executions in military barracks. The move is the latest in a crackdown on French media by the West African country’s military junta.

Libération correspondent Agnès Faivre and Le Monde reporter Sophie Douce were summoned by Burkinabe military authorities for questioning Friday and later given 24 hours to leave. The pair arrived in Paris Sunday.

In a statement, Libération said Burkina Faso’s ruling military junta was angered by its March 27 report about an investigation into a video that showed a soldier killing children and adolescents.

According to Libération, social media reports said Burkinabe officials accused Faivre and Douce of "infiltrating" the country and of being paid to create "false testimonies."

The newspaper said Burkina Faso’s restrictions on the freedom to inform are a sign of a power that does not allow its actions to be questioned.

The Burkinabe government also suspended broadcaster France 24 on March 27, and suspended Radio France International in December.

“Military juntas have not hesitated to reshape the media landscape in order to better serve their interests,” said Sadibou Marong, the West Africa director for Reporters Without Borders. “As soon as they took power in Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad, the military governments tried to control the media by means of prohibition or restriction, and even attacks and arbitrary arrests.”

They’ve also implemented complex media accreditation processes, Marong added.

“This hampers journalistic work and does not respect the principle of journalists being able to protect the identity of their sources,” he said.

A report on press freedom by Reporters Without Borders released Monday found five journalists have been killed in the Sahel over the last 10 years and hundreds have been threatened. Recently, two others have gone missing.

Security and instability have become worse in West Africa as countries deal with a spreading Islamist militant insurgency. Burkina Faso saw two military coups in 2022. Heads of state in Chad, Guinea and Mali have also been forcefully removed in recent years.

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