Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, on Thursday to denounce what they describe as the abusive exploitation of the railways by French group Bolloré.
The protestors demand the cancellation of the contract with Bolloré’s subsidiary Sitarail and the immediate departure of the French group from the country.
“We do not agree. We want Bolloré to leave, he just has to leave. We will manage our train, we will manage our rail. And he only has to fix the rails before leaving. All the money he took there, he just has to fix the tracks before he leaves. We are tired, we are fed up. We’re tired, we’re tired, we’re tired”, complained Natalie Sawadogo, a protester who took part in the march.
Another protester, Lassané Sawadogo, protester added “no, no and no. It is time for Bolloré to leave the Burkinabe government in peace. Especially France, especially France, terrorism is the threat, economic terrorism is still in the city, why? We do not agree”, he shouted.
Works on railway line Abidjan-Kaya-Tambao were due to start last September but so far nothing has been done.
“For 27 years the Burkinabe state was putting money in. It fixed the rails, it put everything back in operation so that they could take over the management and they had to work and repay, they did not repay. They promised to invest 262 billion, and nothing to refurbish the railway. They did not do it. It’s been three years since they were supposed to start, now they don’t want to do it anymore, they want to sell the railway, the management to someone else. It’s cheating”, said event organiser Nestorine Sangaré.
According to the organiser of the march, Bolloré delayed the operation because the start of works on the Tema-Ouaga railway could affect the profitability of its investments.
Last week, the consortium held a press conference to denounce the shortcomings of the framework negotiation agreement for the rehabilitation, construction and operation of the railway, signed between Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and the Bolloré Group.