France: No Plans to Withdraw from Sahel

  • Following travel bans due to the coronavirus pandemic, President Macron attended the summit virtually.
  • The G5 Sahel have called for international support in the fight against the militants.
  • The United Nations' Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, raised his concern over the deteriorating security situation in the region.

The French President Emmanuel Macron has said that France has no intention of withdrawing its troops in the Sahel region. This move is aimed at continual fight against militants in the region, who have continued to wreak havoc. The French troops have been in the country for eight years in an operation that has seen 55 troops killed.

Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron is a French politician serving as President of the French Republic since 2017. Macron was appointed a deputy secretary general by President Francois Hollande shortly after his election in May 2012, making Macron one of Hollande’s senior advisers.

President Macron said this during a two day summit held in the capital of Chad. Following travel bans due to the coronavirus pandemic, President Macron attended the summit virtually.

On their part, the members of the G5 Sahel (Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Chad and Burkina Faso) have called for international support in the fight against the militants. They said that the international community needs to offer monetary support that would ensure developments in this region, a situation that will cut off recruits for the jihadists.

The meeting is aimed at looking at the future of the anti-terrorism campaign in the region. Speaking during the summit, Chad’s President Idriss Déby said that poverty is the major undoing for the region because the militants use that as a fertile ground for their numerous attacks.

The United Nations’ Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, raised his concern over the deteriorating security situation in the region. Speaking during the summit, Mr. Guterres added that innocent civilians continue to pay the price of insecurity in the region.

He said that the pillars to success in the region were good governance, the rule of law, and development. Secretary Guterres called on the leaders to ensure that they win the confidence of their citizens if they want to forge ahead.

The summit comes at a time when attacks are still being experienced in the region. It is estimated that 29 troops have been killed since the year started. Early last month, two French soldiers were killed after their vehicle hit an improvised electric device in the northern part of Mali.

Troops deployed across the country have, over the years, faced serious security situations. An Islamic insurgency erupted in Mali in 2012 after a rebellion by ethnic Tuareg separatists that was later overtaken by the militants.

Operation Barkhane is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation in Africa’s Sahel region, which commenced 1 August 2014. The operation is “to become the French pillar of counterterrorism in the Sahel region.”

The violence in the country has since spread to its neighbors, Niger and Burkina Faso. The violence has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.

Last year’s meeting in Pau resulted in France increasing its troops for the Barkhane— an operation spearheaded by its troops— from 4,500 to 5,100.

An Islamic insurgency has continued to rip through the Sahel region. A number of armed groups are active in the Sahel States— an area that extends south of the Sahara from the Atlantic to the Red Sea— some of which have sworn allegiance to ISIL or al-Qaeda.

In recent years, weapons have flooded the Sahel region. This has enabled the various militant groups to carry out their missions with ease.

Juliet Norah

I am a freelance journalist is passionate about news. I derive pleasure in informing people about the happenings in the world

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