The French president says it would be a mistake to move out of the volatile region in West Africa, as Chad enforces reinforcements.
President Emanuel Macron ruled France’s 5,100-strong Berkhein forces, struggling with armed groups in the Sahel region of West Africa, to make an immediate exit.
Macron said it was withdrawing the decision on a legion after a virtual summit of the so-called G5 Sahel countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger – and their allies. .
Macron told reporters in Paris, “Chances are likely that our military deployment will be made in Sahel, but they will not be made immediately.”
“They will deliver first-hand results from collective discussions with our Sahel partners and with partners that have accepted to help us, and they will be based on the results achieved and the degree of engagement from our partners,” he said.
Armed groups, sometimes associated with al-Qaeda and ISIL, which were once confined to the lawless areas of northern Mali, have spread to Burkina Faso and Niger in the arid areas of the Sahel in recent years, jockeying for power Occur and ethnic attacks increase ethnic tensions. Security forces have also faced charges of serious misconduct.
Conflicts in the western part of the Sahel, large-scale clashes between ISIL and al-Qaeda-linked state forces and armed groups have devastated the semi-arid strip south of the Sahara Desert over the past 10 years, causing thousands of people Were killed And to force millions from their homes.
The deteriorating security situation has created a huge humanitarian crisis, destroying fragile agricultural economies and boosting aid efforts.
France, the region’s former colonial power, is exploring an outside strategy after eight years as it dispatched troops to intervene in Mali against rebel groups captured in the north of the country.
It drove the rebels from northern Mali but its operation in the Sahel cost billions of dollars and killed 55 French soldiers, sparking domestic calls to review the strategy,
Last year, Paris, along with United Nations, American and European partners, increased the number of its Operation Barkhana stationed in the Sahel from 600 to 5,100 troops.
“In the coming months, we will not change our presence. We will launch other important works, and all of us will be reinforced by the Chadian Battalion, by Malian Mobilization and by the contribution of Mauritania.
During the summit, Chad announced plans to deploy 1,200 troops to the “triangular border” area, including the three-country point Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, which have seen the most intense fighting.
Macron further said that an “adjustment” to the French presence would depend on the involvement of other countries in the Takuba Task Force fighting the rebels in the Sahel with Malay and Nigerian forces.
Takuba is part of France’s attempt to share some military burden with its European allies. It will see 150 special forces from European Union countries deployed in the region, with the Czech Republic, Estonia and Sweden already dispatched forces.
Macron said that Hungary, Greece and Serbia were ready to join several European countries.
But German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday that Berlin would not provide troops for additional military missions in the Sahel, rejecting French requests for a German engagement in combat operations.
“Germany is participating in Sahel, both international missions with many soldiers [the European training mission] Also E.U.T.M. [the UN mission] Minsma, ”said Mas, speaking after a summit of leaders and colleagues of the Sahel region.
“At the moment our intention is not to join other missions beyond this, but to focus on it,” he said.