DAKAR, Senegal — The military Junta ruling Burkina Faso have expelled three French diplomats for alleged subversive activities, according to a government document posted on social media Thursday.

The Junta named the three diplomats, two of whom are political advisors, and declared they were persona non grata in Burkina Faso, according to the document signed by the ministry of foreign affairs Tuesday. They have 48 hours to leave Burkina Faso.

The document did not give details about the alleged subversive activities.

The French foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday that it regretted the decision to expel its diplomats and rejected the accusations, stating its activities in Burkina Faso were within the United Nations framework for diplomatic and consular relations.

“The decision of the Burkinabè authorities is not based on any legitimate basis,” said the statement. “We can only deplore it.”

The expulsion comes amid deteriorating relations between Burkina Faso and its former colonial ruler, France. The military junta severed military ties with France in 2023, ordering hundreds of French troops to depart the West African country within a month, following in the path of neighboring Mali, also headed by a coup leader.

More than 60 years after Burkina Faso’s independence, French remains an official language and France has maintained strong economic and humanitarian aid ties with its former colony. As the Islamic extremist insurgency has deepened, however, anti-French sentiment has spiked due in part to the unabating violence.

After a second coup last year, anti-French protesters began urging the junta to strengthen ties with Russia instead.

The prevailing anti-western sentiment and increasing ties with Russia and China are ongoing trends across Burkina Faso and neighbouring Mali, said Rida Lyammouri, senior fellow at the Policy Centre for the New South, a Moroccan-based thinktank.

“This is a continuation of a measure adopted by Burkina Faso and Mali that has seen the expulsion of French diplomats and journalists and suspended some international media,” said Lyammouri.

The junta is also distancing itself from regional and Western nations that don’t agree with its approach. This year, it left the West African regional economic bloc known as ECOWAS and created an alliance with Mali and Niger, also led by military juntas.

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