French President Emmanuel Macron has launched a tour of Africa with a message that France is not after meddling, but the visit revived old colonial wounds, sparking protests.
Macron on Thursday said the era of French interference in Africa was "well over" as he began a four-nation tour of the continent to renew frayed ties.
Anti-French sentiment runs high in some former African colonies. Macron said France harbored no desire to return to past policies of interfering in Africa.
"The age of Francafrique is well over," Macron said in remarks to the French community in Gabon's capital Libreville, referring to France's post-colonization strategy of supporting authoritarian leaders to defend its interests.
"Francafrique" refers to the wave of decolonization in 1960 when France began propping up dictators in its former colonies in exchange for access to resources and military bases.
Macron landed in Gabon on Wednesday, the first stop of the tour that will also take the president to Angola, Congo Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"What is Macron doing in Gabon? Is he coming for the forest or to back (President) Ali Bongo?" asked a 39-year-old technician. "If Macron wants to support the Bongo family, we will rise up," he said. "Gabon is an independent country. It is not France that appoints Gabonese presidents."
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), angry protesters gathered in front of the French embassy in Kinshasa, spray-painting anti-French graffiti on its wall and chanting "Macron is a killer!"
They unfurled banners reading, "Macron is the godfather of DRC balkanization," "Congolese say no to French policy," and "Macron is an unwanted guest in DRC".
More than 3,000 French soldiers are deployed in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Djibouti, according to official figures.
Burkina Faso said it has scrapped a 1961 agreement on military assistance with France, only weeks after it told the French ambassador and troops to quit the country.
The Burkinabe foreign ministry advised the French government that the country was "renouncing the technical military assistance agreement reached in Paris on April 24 1961," according to the correspondence, dated Tuesday.
The ministry said Burkina was giving one month's notice for "the final departure of all French military personnel serving in Burkinabe military administrations."
Burkina also gave France a month to pull out a special forces unit of 400 men that was based near the capital. The French flag was lowered on the base last month.
France withdrew the last of its troops from Mali last year, climaxing a break-up that was triggered by angry protests amid rise in Takfiri terrorism.
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