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FACT CHECK: Are these French officials destroying vehicles in Burkina Faso



CLAIM: French officials destroyed vehicles and other valuables that belonged to them after they were evicted by the military regime in Burkina Faso.



A Twitter user, @stoneheart53, on Monday, posted a video showing some white men supervising the destruction of some pickup vans with a bulldozer. The video has the following caption: “The military in Burkina Faso are in the process of nationalising their mining companies. One of them, Perkins Mines officials destroyed their vehicles before leaving. This is the reaction of French before leaving. If This Is Not Wickedness, Tell Me What Is. Why Not Give The Vehicles To Your Indigenous Staff??? The Hearts Of Our Colonizers Are Desperately Wicked”.

The post purports that the officials of a French company or French government are the ones seen in the video destroying vehicles.

In September 2022, a military coup led by army captain Ibrahim Traore, in which he deposed the former military leader President Paul-Henri Damiba. Since then, there has been a cold relationship between the new regime and the country’s former colonial master, France. Traore once accused France of helping the deposed military leader to plan a counter-coup against him. He also evicted the French ambassador from the country.

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The claim that France destroyed its valuables and those of its subsidiary companies is false. First, there is no credible report that any French company was nationalised.

In addition, Ripples Nigeria ran a verification check on the video and found that it was shot in a mining site Perkoa Mine, not ‘Perkins Mine’ as claimed by the Tweep. The mine is managed by Nantou Mining, a branch of a Canadian company called ‘Trevali Mining’ which owns 90% of the mine while the Burkinabe government owns the remaining 10%.

Old versions of the same video were found on the internet. A website that documents mining operations in Burkina Faso, in a report published on November 29, 2022, gave context to the video.

The post explained that the vehicles were owned by Byrnecut, a subcontracting company of Australian origin. It explained further that the vehicles were destroyed by the same company as part of its policy on ‘End-of-Life’ vehicles.

End-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are motor vehicles that are classified as waste. The European Union recommends that such vehicles should be destroyed for the purpose of recycling. End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive 2000/53/EC encourages manufacturers to design their vehicles with part reuse and recycling in mind.

It was stated that the Burkinabe Ministry of Energy and Quarries sent a delegation to the site, and pledged to investigate the justification given by the company but Ripples Nigeria could not find the outcome of the investigation on the internet.

By Oluwatobi Odeyinaka

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