We will reduce the military presence in the Sahel region in Africa, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday. Details of the withdrawal of the forces are to be announced in June.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced at a press conference the “profound transformation” of the French military presence in the Sahel with the end of the anti-jihadist operation Barkhane, including in Mali, where there was a recent coup.
“Many of our soldiers have died”
– After consultations with our American and European partners, we will begin a deep transformation of our intervention in the Sahel – he announced. Details will be revealed at the end of June.
Macron said a new international force would replace Operation Barkhane in the Sahel and that the number of French troops would be reduced there. But “the French army will be the backbone of these forces,” he said. He added that they would also include European partners and local forces. – France has been involved in the Sahel for over eight years. Many of our soldiers died, I think about their families – he said.
French forces in the Sahel region
France maintains some 5,100 troops in the Sahel region, providing significant support to the armies of the countries in the region fighting against the jihadist Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
In mid-February, during the N’Djamena summit with G5 Sahel partners (Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mauritania), the French president refrained from announcing the expected decision to start the withdrawal of French troops.
Main photo source: Reuters Archive