(Image: “Mali – Barkhane french operation – war against terrorism” by Fred Marie Photographer is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Written by: Reuters
France to announce troop reduction in Sahel operations
Reuters reported that French President Emmanuel Macron is set to announce a troop reduction in the Sahel region of West Africa. The decision came after a defense cabinet meeting on Wednesday and Macron could make the announcement later today during a scheduled news conference in Paris.
Macron had previously opposed any troop reductions during the February G5 Summit held in N’Djamena, Chad. The summit convenes annually for the five Sahel countries – Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania – and their allies. During that summit, Chad had added 1,200 troops to the 5,100 French soldiers in the area.
It’s unclear how many troops could be pulled out. It was only last year that France added 600 troops to the operation. But that was never meant to be permanent.
Reuters reports, “Military and diplomatic sources indicate an “adjustment” in the French presence would depend on the involvement of other European countries in the Takuba Task Force fighting militants in the Sahel alongside the Malian and Nigerien armies.”
The Task Force Takuba is a multi-lateral effort meant to keep pressure on violent extremists while confronting the political and socio-economic drivers of extremism.
Reuters reported that the French president, as well as the foreign and armed forces ministries all declined to comment.