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World Operation Barkhane: France declares end to anti-terror military mission in Sahel

10:55  11 june  2021
10:55  11 june  2021 Source:   cnn.com

Few options for Mali's partners in latest twist to crisis

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France is to end its years-long anti - terror mission targeting Islamists in the Sahel region of West Africa, French President Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday.

Barkhane forces to withdraw from Sahel region. - Copyright © africanews. DAPHNE BENOIT/AFP or licensors. "Support of cooperation to the arms of the countries of the region that wish it, and the implementation of a military operation , and "an international alliance associating the States of the region and all our partners strictly focused on the fight against terrorism ." The ongoing efforts to combat terrorism in the Sahel will be carried out via special forces structured around the Takuba operation .

France is to end its years-long anti-terror mission targeting Islamists in the Sahel region of West Africa, French President Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday.

a truck driving down a dirt road: A French armoured vehicle drives by the Mount Hombori on March 27, 2019, in Mali's Gourma region as part of France's Operation Barkhane. © Daphne Benoit/AFP/Getty Images A French armoured vehicle drives by the Mount Hombori on March 27, 2019, in Mali's Gourma region as part of France's Operation Barkhane.

However, the mission, known as Operation Barkhane, will be replaced by a more international effort, Macron told a press conference ahead of the G7 summit. He added that additional details would be announced "in the weeks to come."

France currently has 5,100 troops in the region in connection with Operation Barkhane, operating across Chad, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso, according to the French Ministry of Defense.

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Operation Barkhane is an ongoing anti -insurgent operation started on August 1, 2014 which is led by the French military against Islamist groups in Africa's Sahel region.

Paris (CNN) France is to end its years-long anti - terror mission targeting Islamists in the Sahel region of West Africa, French President Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday. Macron said France would now consult with its American and European partners and initiate a "profound transformation" of the French military presence in the Sahel . "This transformation will translate into a model change" with a "new framework" which means "the end of Barkhane as an external operation , to allow for an operation of support and cooperation with armies in the countries of the [ Sahel ] region that ask for it

Despite their efforts, Islamist forces continue to provoke instability in the region, almost a decade after French troops were first deployed in Mali to contain their advances. Meanwhile, in France, Operation Barkhane is increasingly seen as a long-running drain on resources with no clear end in sight.

Macron said France would now consult with its American and European partners and initiate a "profound transformation" of the French military presence in the Sahel.

"This transformation will translate into a model change" with a "new framework" which means "the end of Barkhane as an external operation, to allow for an operation of support and cooperation with armies in the countries of the [Sahel] region that ask for it," Macron said.

French military suspension in Mali hits a struggling army

  French military suspension in Mali hits a struggling army France's decision to freeze joint military operations with Mali following the country's second coup in nine months is a major blow to a weak army fighting ruthless, highly mobile jihadists. The defence ministry in Paris last week announced a "temporary" suspension in military advice and joint operations pending "guarantees" that Mali's ruling military -- which has booted out civilian leaders in charge of a transitional government -- will stage elections in February 2022.

Macron told the press conference that France 's counter- terrorism operation in West Africa would come to an end and be merged into a broader international mission . "We will make a drawdown in an organised way," Macron said, adding that details would be finalised by the end of June. Last week France suspended its joint military operations with Malian forces and stopped providing defence advice because of the ruling junta's failure to give guarantees to hold free elections. The French Sahel mission , known as Operation Barkhane , has been headquartered in the Chadian capital N'Djamena.

France is to scale down counter- terrorism operations in the Sahel region of West Africa after eight years, President Emmanuel Macron has said. French forces have been operating in Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso to fight militants. Last week, France paused operations in Mali following a military coup. Militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group have strengthened their grip on the region, which has become a front line in the war against Islamist extremism.

"The time has come. The continuation of our commitment in the Sahel cannot be in the same way. We are going, with our partners by our side but also with countries in the region (...) to draw conclusions on what worked (...) and what didn't."

Operation Barkhane would be replaced by "a military operation and an international alliance, associating countries in the region with all our partners, strictly limited to the fight against terrorism," Macron said.

The Takuba Task Force -- the European military task force led by France which advises, assists and accompanies Malian Armed Forces in the Sahel -- will be central to the effort, he said. The French army would constitute the "backbone" of that force, completed by special forces from European and partner countries in the region, he added.

"The long-term presence of France in external operations cannot be a substitute to the return of the State and services of the State to the political stability and choice of sovereign states" in the region, Macron said.

The Sahel: Terror, poverty and climate change

  The Sahel: Terror, poverty and climate change With French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday announcing a revamp of France's military deployment in the Sahel, we take a look at this deeply troubled region and its role in world politics. - What is it? - The Sahel, meaning coast or shore in Arabic, is a vast region that stretches along the southern rim of the Sahara from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. Wedged between the desert to the north and tropical forests and savannah to the south, the belt has a semi-arid climate.- Where is it? -There is debate over which countries actually belong to the Sahel.

Operation Barkhane was launched in 2014 to conduct military operations against extremist armed groups and train and support military forces of the G5 countries. Some 5,100 French military personnel are deployed in the Sahel region as part of the operation . France has faced criticism from the opposition as well as certain sections within Mali on the usefulness of Operation Barkhane . The credibility of France ’s military presence further came under spotlight after the UN mission in Mali held that an airstrike in January by the French army overwhelmingly killed civilians among suspected

Operation Barkhane was launched in 2014 to conduct military operations against extremist armed groups and train and support military forces of the G5 countries. Some 5,100 French military personnel are deployed in the Sahel region as part of the operation . France has faced criticism from the opposition as well as certain sections within Mali on the usefulness of Operation Barkhane . The credibility of France 's military presence further came under spotlight after the UN mission in Mali held that an airstrike in January by the French army overwhelmingly killed civilians among suspected

"We cannot secure zones that fall back into instability because states decide not to take their own responsibility. It's impossible," he said.

At Mali's request, France -- the former colonial power -- launched Operation Serval, a United Nations-sanctioned ground and air operation against Islamist militants, in January 2013. The plan was to oust the jihadists and prevent them from moving on to the capital, Bamako.

The UN deployed a peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, and the French mission was succeeded in August 2014 by Operation Barkhane, a broader French anti-terror mission targeting Islamists in the Sahel.

In recent months, the French government has become frustrated with the political turmoil in Mali, where a new leader was declared late last month following the second coup in less than a year.

In a May 29 interview with French newspaper Journal du Dimanche, Macron threatened to pull French troops out of Mali if the country lurched toward radical Islamism.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: French soldiers in armored personnel carriers patrol the village of Gorom Gorom in northern Burkina Faso as part of Operation Barkhane on November 14, 2019. © Michele Cattani/AFP/Getty Images French soldiers in armored personnel carriers patrol the village of Gorom Gorom in northern Burkina Faso as part of Operation Barkhane on November 14, 2019.

Mali: A Nigerian soldier killed and two French injured in the "three border" zone .
© Reuters / Benoit Tessier / File Photo A French soldier of Operation Barkhane in Mali (image of illustration). A Nigerian soldier was killed on Tuesday, June 15 during the fighting in the Zone of the "Three Borders" in Mali three other soldiers were injured: another Nigerian soldier and two French military of the Barkhane force. This hanging occurred on Tuesday, June 15 in the Araban area in Mali, southwest of Menaka, Liptako, a few kilometers from the Nigerian border.

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