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World Macron to reduce French military troops in Africa's Sahel

12:10  11 june  2021
12:10  11 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

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PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday announced the future reduction of France’s military presence fighting Islamic extremism in Africa’s Sahel region.

French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel board a US Air Force C130 transport plane, leave their base in Gao, Mali Wednesday June 9, 2021. France has suspended joint military operations with Malian forces until the junta led by Col. Assimi Goita, who retook control of Mali's transitional government May 24, complies with international demands to restore civilian rule. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) © Provided by Associated Press French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel board a US Air Force C130 transport plane, leave their base in Gao, Mali Wednesday June 9, 2021. France has suspended joint military operations with Malian forces until the junta led by Col. Assimi Goita, who retook control of Mali's transitional government May 24, complies with international demands to restore civilian rule. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

In a news conference, Macron spoke about the “profound transformation" of France’s military operation in Mali and neighboring countries — without giving a timeframe.

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France's Operation Barkhane will formally end, he said, and will be replaced by another mission focused on fighting Islamic extremists that relies more on regional partners.

French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel board a US Air Force C130 transport plane, leave their base in Gao, Mali Wednesday June 9, 2021. France has suspended joint military operations with Malian forces until the junta led by Col. Assimi Goita, who retook control of Mali's transitional government May 24, complies with international demands to restore civilian rule. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) © Provided by Associated Press French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel board a US Air Force C130 transport plane, leave their base in Gao, Mali Wednesday June 9, 2021. France has suspended joint military operations with Malian forces until the junta led by Col. Assimi Goita, who retook control of Mali's transitional government May 24, complies with international demands to restore civilian rule. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Details will be unveiled at the end of June, he said, including on the number of troops France is keeping in the region. France now has more than 5,000 troops in the Sahel.

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French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel board a US Air Force C130 transport plane, leave their base in Gao, Mali, Wednesday June 9, 2021. France has suspended joint military operations with Malian forces until the junta led by Col. Assimi Goita, who retook control of Mali's transitional government May 24, complies with international demands to restore civilian rule. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) © Provided by Associated Press French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel board a US Air Force C130 transport plane, leave their base in Gao, Mali, Wednesday June 9, 2021. France has suspended joint military operations with Malian forces until the junta led by Col. Assimi Goita, who retook control of Mali's transitional government May 24, complies with international demands to restore civilian rule. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

“The final goal is to reduce our multiple military deployments” in the region, he said.

“I’m saying it again: France is in Africa only at the request of Africans ... to fight against terrorism,” Macron added. “But the shape of our presence, an operation abroad involving 5,000 troops, is not adapted any more to the reality of the combats.”

French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel leave their base in Gao, Mali Wednesday June 9, 2021. France has suspended joint military operations with Malian forces until the junta led by Col. Assimi Goita, who retook control of Mali's transitional government May 24, complies with international demands to restore civilian rule. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) © Provided by Associated Press French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel leave their base in Gao, Mali Wednesday June 9, 2021. France has suspended joint military operations with Malian forces until the junta led by Col. Assimi Goita, who retook control of Mali's transitional government May 24, complies with international demands to restore civilian rule. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

He said France will focus in the future on deploying special forces, in cooperation with other European countries, as part of the so-called Takuba task force that is meant to play an increasing role in the fight against extremists.

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.

French Barkhane Air Force mechanics maintain a Mirage 2000 on the Niamey, Niger base June 5, 2021. French President Emmanuel Macron announced at a press conference Thursday June 10, 2021 That operation Barkhane would end and be replaced by support for local partners and counter terrorism. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay): Mali Crisis © Provided by Associated Press Mali Crisis

A French top official said it will take several months to implement the changes. Paris will first hold talks with its European and African partners, he said.

Several thousand French troops will remain in the region in total, participating in various operations including the new cooperation mission.

“In the end, the French presence in Sahel will remain significant,” the official said. He was speaking anonymously in accordance with the presidency’s customary practice.

French troops have been present in Mali since 2013 when they intervened to force Islamic extremist rebels from power in towns across the country's north. Operation Serval was later replaced by Barkhane and was expanded to include Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania in an effort to help stabilize the broader Sahel region.

A French Barkhane Malinois looks for explosives at the entrance of the Niamey, Niger base Sunday June 6, 2021. French President Emmanuel Macron announced at a press conference Thursday June 10, 2021 That operation Barkhane would end and be replaced by support for local partners and counter terrorism. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) © Provided by Associated Press A French Barkhane Malinois looks for explosives at the entrance of the Niamey, Niger base Sunday June 6, 2021. French President Emmanuel Macron announced at a press conference Thursday June 10, 2021 That operation Barkhane would end and be replaced by support for local partners and counter terrorism. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Islamic militants, though, have continued to launch devastating attacks against the militaries fighting them as well as increasingly against civilians. About a week ago, extremists in Burkina Faso launched the deadliest attack in years, leaving at least 132 people dead.

cards. End of Operation Barkhane: Where are the French soldiers in the world?

 cards. End of Operation Barkhane: Where are the French soldiers in the world? © Archives The military of the 11th Marine Artillery Regiment, based in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier (Ille-et-Vilaine), regularly participate in external operations. The French soldiers will soon be less numerous in the Sahel and Operation Barkhane will take "end as an external operation," announced Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, June 10th. Before this partial withdrawal, overview of the French military presence in the world. More than 30,000.

Hundreds also have died since January in a series of massacres targeting villages on the border of Niger and Mali.

While governments in the Sahel have embraced France's military help, some critics have likened their presence to a vestige of French colonial rule.

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