Senegal on the Path of Its Neighbors… “Red Card” Expected for France

France is on track to receive a new blow to its influence in Africa, but this time it will come from Senegal.

After the expulsion of French forces from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, Dakar seems to be considering the same move.

Senegalese Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko hinted at the possibility of closing French military bases in his country, located in West Africa, which house around 350 French soldiers.

Sonko, a former opposition figure known for his criticism of French abuses in its former colony, stated, “After more than 60 years since our independence… we must question why the French army, for example, still benefits from several military bases in our country, and the impact of this presence on our national sovereignty and strategic independence.”

He added, “I reiterate here Senegal’s desire to have its own control, which contradicts the permanent presence of foreign military bases in Senegal… many defense agreements have been promised by several countries, but this does not justify the fact that a third of the Dakar region is currently occupied by foreign garrisons.”

Senegal’s neighboring countries, such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, have expelled French forces and turned to Russia for assistance in combating rebel movements and terrorist groups on their territory.

Senegal witnessed heated presidential elections last April that brought President Bassirou Faye to power from the opposition.

Faye considers Sonko his mentor and patron, and he led the opposition under former President Macky Sall.

Faye attempted to reassure both domestically and abroad with direct messages to the country’s “partners,” calling them “respectable,” and pledged that “Senegal will remain a safe and reliable ally.”

However, analysts see France as the biggest loser with President Faye due to his principled stance on French presence in Senegal’s political and economic scene, promising Senegalese “the sovereignty of their state over its decisions, away from colonial forces and by breaking ties with the French franc and French companies.”

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