Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister, Djibril Bassolé, has announced his country’s recognition of the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate authority in Lybia.
At the same time, Burkina Faso is reportedly prepared to grant asylum to ousted Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi. A position that divides the public opinion in Burkina Faso.
In the capital Ouagadougou, many welcome the asylum offer to Gaddafi. For others, Gaddafi doesn’t deserve such a fate, whatever his merits are. “I think Gaddafi has been a great leader for his country and for Africa. As a matter of fact, wherever you go in Burkina Faso people know about Gaddafi. Today, he is in a rather difficult situation and we must not let him down. That’s the least we can do,” says Albert Coulibaly, a civil servant.
Welder Yaya Sanou, resting in the shade, adds: “As for me, I entirely agree with Gaddafi finding sanctuary in Burkina Faso. He is welcome to stay and feel at home. As Africans, we must host him in the name of African brotherhood.”
Victim of Western powers
According to journalist Hervé Taoko, “humanely speaking, every man has the right to asylum, regardless of the charges against him. This [Gaddafi’s possible asylum in Burkina Faso would boost President Compaoré’s image on the international scene. Blaise could be the intermediary between Gaddafi and the new Libyan regime.”
For many Burkina Faso citizens, ‘President Compaoré’s friend’ is a victim of Western powers. “Gaddafi did not start the current crisis in Libya. Western powers do not want him in power. Therefore, we Africans must not turn our backs on him,” says businessman Kontilsonko Hamado.
According to Koffi Felix, journalist for the satirical paper ‘Le Journal du Jeudi’, “Burkina Faso should find country at odds with NATO and the US, who would then cause us trouble.”
herself new allies, in the event Gaddafi’s asylum becomes problematic. Hosting Gaddafi must not put the
As for Hervé Taoko, he admits that if the allegations against the ex-Libyan leader turn out to be true, that could negatively impact the country’s international reputation. “Burkina Faso will be regarded as the country that granted asylum to a dictator. Judging by the statement of the Burkina Faso Foreign Minister, it appears our country is the one offering asylum.”
For student Emmanuel Kambu, Burkina Faso is blowing hot and cold. “I find Burkina Faso’s position ambiguous. One cannot befriend two warring factions. Suppose that Gaddafi comes to Burkina Faso and that the NTC, at some point, demands his extradition for judicial reasons, what would then be the position of Burkina Faso?”
Journalist Koffi Félix has similar concerns. “Gaddafi can surely find sanctuary in Burkina Faso, but will the country resist pressures to hand him over to the International Criminal Court? From a humanitarian point of view, it is a way of saving an isolated Gaddafi from his opponents, who are determined to lock him away.”
For Noffou Zougmorré, “our country is not sufficiently independent, especially with the involvement of France in the conflict. This decision is not surprising to me. For the past three years, relations between Comaporé and Gaddafi have been cold. Nevertheless, politics has prevailed over emotions.”