Last weekend, Burkinabe Prime Minister Kyélem Apollinaire de Tambèla was on a trip to Moscow. Burkina Faso is looking for military support, and it could be Russian.
The trip went almost unnoticed. On December 9, Burkinabè Prime Minister Kyélem Apollinaire de Tambèla was in Moscow. A journey that started, according to the press, from Ouagadougou two days earlier, via Mali. Appointed head of government a month and a half ago by Captain Ibrahim Traoré, Kyélem de Tambèla seemed to be, at first glance, the spearhead of negotiations between France and Burkina Faso. Before becoming Prime Minister, he assured that "we must not break with France for Russia". Adding that “the demonstrators waving the Russian flag do not know the affairs of the State” and that “Russia is more exploitative than France; ask for news from Somalia, Ethiopia and Angola”.
Since then, has Kyélem de Tambèla watered down his wine? While he was to manage day-to-day business on December 9 – a meeting with the unions was scheduled – the Prime Minister was in Russia. The most astonishing thing is the secrecy in which the trip took place. Jeune Afrique indeed indicates that Tambèla arrived in Bamako in a Malian air force plane. Before taking a scheduled flight to Moscow.
Mali as an intermediary
Accompanied by a dozen officials, the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso therefore negotiated his trip directly with the Malian regime, considered very close to Russia. In all likelihood, Assimi Goïta, the Malian President of the Transition, would therefore try to convince Ibrahim Traoré that Russia is a more reliable ally than Europe. Because Traoré knows it: if he chooses Moscow, he will inevitably attract the wrath of Brussels, but especially of Paris.
While the Prime Minister affirms that it was a simple "private visit", everything suggests that, given the size of his delegation, made up in particular of soldiers and ministers, Kyélem de Tambèla actually been talking to the Russian authorities on behalf of Burkina Faso. The visit would have lasted more than 48 hours.
The presence of soldiers also shows that the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso could be looking for a partner for the security dossier. The previous military junta was putsched, in particular because of its lack of results in the fight against terrorism. And Traoré is determined to take control of securing Burkina Faso.
Already, French officials believe that Burkina Faso has taken a step towards the paramilitary group Wagner. The next few weeks will certainly be devoted to intense discussions between Paris and Ouagadougou. But if Burkina contracts with Russia, France will certainly threaten the regime in place with reprisals.