November 28, 2017 / 6:27 AM / a year ago

Grenade thrown at French troops in Burkina Faso before Macron's arrival

OUAGADOUDOU (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday played down reports of a grenade thrown at French soldiers shortly before his arrival in Burkina Faso’s capital, saying much worse attacks linked to “deadly ... terrorism” targeted the country.

The grenade, which wounded three civilians, was thrown late on Monday, just hours before Macron was due to speak before a university audience at Ouagadougou, RFI radio station said.

“Let’s put things in perspectives and keep our cool,” Macron said in a news conference at Burkina Faso’s presidential palace.

“It’s only a grenade, I don’t forget the deaths your people had to suffer yesterday, and in the weeks and months before,” he said, adding: “And they are victims of what? Not to a reaction to a visit by France’s President. They are the victims of terrorism, of the deadly obscurantist terrorism against which we are all fighting with determination.”

Later, on Tuesday, stones were thrown at one of the vehicles that were part of the French delegation, Macron’s spokesman said, adding that the French president was not in that car but speaking with Burkino Faso’s president, Roch Marc Kabore.

Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are due to address an European Union-Africa summit in Abidjan this week, focusing on education, investment in youth and economic development to prevent refugees and economic migrants from attempting the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean.

Additional reporting by Danielle Rouquié, Sudip Kar-Gupta; Writing by Michel Rose and Ingrid Melander Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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