Burkina Faso suspends more foreign media for publishing alleged killing of 223 villagers


BURKINA FASO – Burkina Faso has suspended a number of Western and African media, some of them with an indefinite period, over their coverage of a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report accusing the army of extrajudicial killings.

This is contained in a statement issued by the country’s communications authority on Sunday.

Among those named in the latest order were French newspaper Le Monde, British publication The Guardian, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and French broadcaster TV5 Monde.

The move followed similar suspensions of BBC Africa and the Voice of America, Reuters reported.

Theses media entities were suspended for reporting on the HRW investigation that alleged the Burkinabe military executed about 223 villagers in February as part of a campaign against civilians accused of collaborating with jihadist militants.

Read more: Burkina Faso soldiers may have massacred 223 civilians in one day, Rights body claims

The junta-led West African country’s communications council said French television network TV5Monde’s broadcasts would be suspended for two weeks, while access to its website would be blocked.

“The websites of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, French newspapers Le Monde and Ouest-France, British newspaper the Guardian, and African agencies APA and Ecofin have also been blocked until further notice,” according to the statement.

On Saturday, Burkinabe government spokesperson Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo, rejected HRW’s allegations as “peremptory” and denied that the authorities were unwilling to look into the alleged atrocities.

“The killings … have led to the opening of a judicial investigation,” Ouedraogo said, citing a March 1 statement by a regional prosecutor.

Violence in the region fuelled by a decade-long fight with Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State has worsened since respective militaries seized power in Burkina Faso and neighbouring Mali and Niger in a series of coups from 2020 to 2023.

Burkina Faso saw a severe escalation of deadly attacks in 2023, with more than 8,000 people reportedly killed, according to U.S.-based crisis-monitoring group ACLED.

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