A misinformation campaign on social media is causing controversy over the wife of Africa’s new head of state
Russian internet trolls are fueling anti-French sentiment in Africa by fueling controversy over the wife of Africa’s new leader.
Lauriane Doumbouya, the French wife of Guinean President Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, is said to be targeted for being a former friend of President Emmanuel Macron.
Mrs Doumbouya, who is employed by the French military police, is said to have met her husband for the first time in Paris.
She has four children with Col Doumbouya, the second youngest leader in Africa.
The minimal public information about Ms. Doumbouya has resulted in fake news spread by Kremlin-friendly sources to flourish without countering the misinformation.
In an apparently manipulated video, Ms. Doumbouya is falsely portrayed with her arm connected by that of the French President.
There was no concerted public effort by the French authorities to reject allegations about Ms. Doumbaya’s alleged relationship with Mr. Macron.
A source from the French embassy in Conakry said The times it was aware of the material circulating on social media but did not want to comment further.
Mr Macron is a polarizing politician in areas formerly under French colonial rule, and the controversy feeds into existing resentment about France and its leader.
Ibrahima Kaba, an academic at Kankan University in Guinea, said The times: “Guinea distrusts France very much because of the brutal colonization that has taken place over the years. Many of us do not accept the French very well. Some Guineans say they are not happy that a French woman is the first lady. “
Earlier this year, Mr Macron announced plans to reduce the number of French troops fighting in West Africa and replace them with a new framework including allied special forces.
Mr Macron’s frustration that the Sahel authorities were not doing enough to control areas reclaimed by jihadists is seen as a factor in the decision.
Last month, Mali, which has become a central Islamist battlefield, signed an agreement with a mercenary group with ties to the Kremlin.
According to the authorities in Mali, a delivery of weapons, helicopters and ammunition has now been delivered to the country from Russia.
Russia, the only non-African nation besides China where high-ranking figures were present at the inauguration of Col Doumbouya, has taken advantage of the unrest in Africa to exert influence on the continent.
Col Doumbouya, 41, was sworn in as President of Guinea after a successful coup against 83-year-old Alpha Condé.
In accordance with plans to encourage a return to civil rule, Col Doumbouya is prohibited from voting in future elections.
Col Doumbouya, who was trained with the French Foreign Legion, served as a local security officer in Great Britain.
He has served on missions in Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Djibouti and the Central African Republic.