Mobilizing Multinational Military Operations in Africa: Quick Fixes or Sustainable Solutions?


Professor Tony Chafer, University of Portsmouth
Professor Gordon Cumming, Cardiff University
Dr Roel van der Velde, Cardiff University
Ahmed Soliman, Research Fellow, Horn of Africa, Chatham House
Dr Elisa Lopez Lucia, Université Libre de Bruxelles; University of Portsmouth
Chair: Janet Adama Mohammed, West Africa Programme Director, Conciliation Resources

Peacekeeping missions which have sought to address evolving forms of conflict and instability on the African continent – led by the United Nations, African Union and European Union – have frequently been overstretched.

Across regions including the Sahel, the Horn and West Africa, the issues of violent extremism and criminality – often set against a backdrop of collapsing or severely weakened central states – have led to the mobilisation of a diverse set of new collective responses.

These include notable African-led efforts such as AMISOM in Somalia or more recently the G5 Sahel, where France have played a pivotal role in initiating new and more ad hoc approaches to coalition-building.

As existing multinational missions in Africa continue to evolve on the ground and while new collective opportunities increasingly present themselves, it is critical for policymakers to understand how far such efforts reflect meaningful long-term solutions to the challenges of conflict and insecurity.

At this roundtable event, participants will reflect on how such missions become mobilised and legitimised, the extent to which they can be defined as ‘new’, and whether they represent a truly sustainable means to tackle the issue of conflict in Africa.

This roundtable is held in partnership with Cardiff University and the University of Portsmouth and is supported by the Leverhulme Trust.

Read more on Chatham House

Changes to leadership of G5-Sahel joint force

Nigerien deputy chief of staff, General Oumarou Namata has been appointed commander of the G5 Sahel anti-jihadist force, succeeding Mauritanian General Hanena Ould Sidi.

The decision to replace General Hanena was taken by the heads of state of the countries making up this group, in the wake of a terrorist attack against the Headquarters of the G5 force, located in Sévaré (Central Mali).

The June 29 suicide bomb and gun attack destroyed the Sévaré facility, killing two soldiers and a civilian. The attack was reportedly claimed by an official from the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM), which is linked to al-Qaeda.

In a similar attack in April, militants attacked French and United Nations bases in Timbuktu killing one UN peacekeeper and injuring dozens.

The G5-sahel, comprising Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, was formed to counter the influx and activities of terrorists in the sahel region.

The new boss of the G5 Sahel counterterrorism force has long served in the region of Diffa (northern Niger) in the grip of terrorism. This gives him real experience in this area.

The Nigerien general arrives at the head of the G5 Sahel joint force at a time several sources evoke the prospect of “a major shift”.

Kassataya, a radio station of the Mauritanian diaspora, said the regional force could soon be expanded to 17 countries within the ECOWAS region “for a larger scale management of the fight against terrorism.”

ECOWAS summit scheduled for September in Ouagadougou; Burkina Faso would address the issue.

The European Union announced early July it is to give €138 million ($155 million) more to support the G5 Sahel Joint Force, including its police component, a joint E.U.-G5 Sahel statement said.

The announcement was made a week after Niger’s president called for sustainable UN funding or an international coalition to fight insurgency in the Sahel.

Originally published on The North Africa Post