Tag Archives | G5 Sahel

France faces growing problems in the Sahel

Tony Chafer is Professor of French and African Studies at the University of Portsmouth         In recent months France has faced growing hostility to its military presence in the western Sahel. There have been demonstrations, most recently in Bamako on 10 January, when the French flag was burned in the city’s main square and demonstrators called for the French forces and all foreign forces on Malian soil to leave. In response, President Macron called the presidents of the G5 Sahel countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad) to a meeting in Pau this Monday 13 January, at which he hoped they would disavow such anti-French demonstrations. He even hinted that, if they did not, he could withdraw the 4,500 soldiers of France’s Operation Barkhane. No one expected him to follow through on this threat. In the event, Macron and the presidents of the G5 Sahel countries recommitted themselves to the counter-terrorism efforts in the western Sahel and agreed to form a military coalition under joint command to focus their counter-insurgency efforts. However, President Macron knows that France is losing the battle against violent extremism in the region and at the NATO summit in November last year […]

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Mali: ‘Terrorists’ killed in French airstrike near Niger border

Aircraft attached to the France-led Operation Barkhane in the Sahel struck “terrorists” in Mali near the border with Niger killing nine, the Ministry of the Armed Forces said on Friday. The operation was launched on Wednesday, July 17 after a Malian soldier was killed and two others wounded in an ambush on their convoy. The soldiers had been part of a “logistical escort mission” from the border post of Labbézanga to Gao and were ambushed between Fafa and Bentia, a Armed Forces of Mali (FAMa) statement said, adding that a provisional assessment from sweeps on the ground was that five “terrorists” had been killed. The Barkhane operations center was notified of an attack on a convoy of 10 vehicles between Asongo and the border near the village of Fafa at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, the French Ministry release said. It said that the convoy was split in two during the attack, and FAMa reinforcements were dispatched from Asongo to the north and Labbézanga to the south, and a drone was redirected to the area. In Wednesday release, the French military said a light aircraft was also involved in intelligence-gathering during the operation. The gunfight ended at 1 p.m. and the reinforcements reported the FAMa casualties, while motorcycles were seen leaving […]

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