France shrinks West African military operations

Burkina Faso French soldiers

France has an army of 5,100 in the Sahel region

France will curtail counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel region of West Africa eight years later, said President Emmanuel Macron.

He announced that the existing strong task force of 5,100 people will be incorporated into a wider range of international missions.

French troops are working to fight militants in Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.

France suspended its activities in Mali last week following a military coup.

Extremists associated with al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) groups are strengthening their dominance in areas that are at the forefront of the war against Islamic extremists.

It is also the main transit route for illegal drugs, weapons and holy warriors.

“Maintaining the counter-terrorism pillar with hundreds of special forces … and having a second pillar to work with, strengthening it,” Macron said at a press conference on Thursday.

He said the people left in the area would work with other European countries as part of the Takuba Task Force, which is fighting militants in the Sahel with troops in Mali and Nigeria.

The president said the withdrawal of the armed forces would be “organized” and the details would be finalized by the end of June.

“France has been involved in the Sahel for more than eight years,” Macron said. “Many of our soldiers have fallen. I’m thinking of their family. We’re consistent with them. We have a duty of sexuality and clarity. We learn from what works and what we fail from. “

In recent months, Chad leader Idriss Dévi Itno has died, and Mali has experienced a second coup in nine months.

After the second Malian coup, Macron told French newspapers that France would not support a country without democratic legitimacy or transition, and that France would not permanently reserve troops in Africa. He said he had told him.

Mood changes in both Sahel and France

Wenyam Compaore, Dakar BBC News

This move follows Colonel Goita’s suspension of joint military operations with the Malian Army after the second coup. But that’s not all.

In France, Macron is already in campaign mode for the 2022 elections, and French public opinion is becoming more and more skeptical about Sahel’s mission. Death of Chad leader Idriss Dévi Reconstructed the Sahel, and there is strong opposition to the existence of France in Mali.

To be on the safe side, it was Mali who asked France for help in 2013. However, France is now being criticized for supporting the Chad Army’s appointment of Idriss Dévi’s son as the new leader of the country, while condemning the coup in Mali.

Macron, meanwhile, says he cannot accept that Mali has decided to open a dialogue with the very jihadist group in which the French troops in the country are fighting.

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