France to send 600 more troops to Sahel

France to send 600 more troops to Sahel

France will deploy 600 more soldiers in the fight against Islamist militants in the Sahel region, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said.


According to Parly, the reinforcements would mostly be sent to the area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Another part would join the G5 Sahel forces.


Forces will be placed under one umbrella and efforts focused on tackling the Islamic State group, Parly said.


France already has around 4,500 combat troops in West Africa, where it launched a military intervention 7 years ago. There are 12,000 UN peacekeepers in Mali called MINUSMA.


Early January, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted in the southwestern French city of Pau heads of state of Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania, forming the G5 group.


The nations agreed to a joint command structure – Coalition for the Sahel – to tackle the insurgency.


The security crisis in the region started in 2012 when an alliance of separatist and Islamist militants took over northern Mali, triggering a French military intervention to oust them.


A peace deal was signed in 2015 but was never completely implemented and new armed groups emerged and expanded to central Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.


Some are linked to al-Qaeda and others to the Islamic State (IS) group. They have taken advantage of porous borders to raise money through extortion, and weapons and people trafficking.

Share This