OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - France and Burkina Faso have officially marked the end of French military operations in the West African nation, the Burkinabe armed forces said on Sunday, after a flag-lowering ceremony at the French special forces' camp a day earlier.
In January, Burkina Faso gave France one month to withdraw its troops as it ended a military accord that allowed French troops to fight insurgents on its territory, citing a wish for the country to defend itself.
Their departure marks a new chapter in Burkina's battle with the Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, who have taken over large swathes of land and displaced millions of people in the wider Sahel region, just south of the Sahara.
In a statement, the General Staff of the Burkinabe Armed Forces said it had participated with the leadership of France's Sabre special forces in "a solemn flag-lowering ceremony marking the official end of the Task Force's operations on Burkinabe soil".
The French armed forces ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Last month, the French foreign ministry said France would comply with the request for it to withdraw its some 200-400 special forces personnel from Burkina.
(Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris, Writing by Alessandra Prentice, Editing by Angus MacSwan)