Tag Archives: France

G5 Sahel: Chad urges Mali to stay

Brussels 22.05.2022 Chad’s interim president Mahamat Idriss Deby (pictured) has urged Mali’s military junta to reconsider its decision to withdraw from a five-nation military force – G5 Sahel – fighting Islamist militants in the region.

Malian authorities announced the decision on Sunday, May 22, blaming the lack of progress in the fight against militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) and the failure to hold recent meetings in Mali. G5 Sahel assembls troops from Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad and Niger.

Mali’s junta, which came to power in an August 2020 coup, has grown increasingly estranged from its West African neighbours after delaying elections aimed to restore democratic rule.

Chad’s Deby, the acting president of the G5 Sahel, said in a statement released on his behalf that the alliance was “an irreplaceable instrument of cooperation”.

“The acting president of the G5 Sahel exhorts the government of the Republic of Mali to reconsider its position in order to allow efforts underway … (to) provide a solution to its concerns through an imminent conference of heads of state and government,” the statement said.

Deby ascended to power by the military last year after the battlefield death of his father, President Idriss Deby. Nowadays he has faced less international criticism than Mali’s junta, which is embroiled in a dispute with France, the former colonial power and main military ally of regional forces.

France troops withdrawal from Mali

Brussels 17.02.2022 Ahead of the EU-Africa Union Summit President Macron announces French troops are withdrawing from Mali and will be stationed in other parts of the African region.
France and its allies in the long-term anti-jihadist operation in Mali have announced a “coordinated withdrawal” of their forces. A joint statement cited “multiple obstructions” by the country’s ruling “military junta”. (Image above: illustration).

Announcing the move during a Thursday news conference in Paris, Macron accused Mali’s ruling military junta of neglecting the fight against Islamic extremists and said it was logical for France to withdraw since its role is not to replace a sovereign state on the battlefield.

“Victory against terror is not possible if it’s not supported by the state itself,” the French leader said.
France has about 4,300 troops in the Sahel region, including 2,400 in Mali. The Barkhane anti-terrorist force is also involved in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Macron said the French withdrawal would be done “in an orderly manner” in coordination with the Malian military. France will start by closing military bases in the north of Mali, and the withdrawal will take between four or six months, he said.

Omicron: EU lifts SA travel restrictions

Brussels 10.01.2022 European Union member states have agreed to lift the travel ban on flights to southern African countries, which will allow more voyages to resume.

The decision lifts the so-called emergency brake introduced in November, France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, informed in Tweet micro blog. Travellers from the region will still be subject to health measures applicable to travellers from third countries.

European nations had suspended most air travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe as the WHO and scientists were in process to assess the severity of the omicron variant. The bloc maintained the limits even after cases continued to surge around the world, despite an outcry from the region.

Ethiopia fighting causes France concern

Brussels 02.08.2021 Brussels 02.08.2021 On 31 July 2021, the President of the Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron, spoke with the Prime Minister of Sudan, Mr Abdalla Hamdok, and then with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr Abiy Ahmed. These conversations were an opportunity to highlight France’s concern about the increasing fighting in the north of Ethiopia and the evolution of the humanitarian situation in Tigray.

The President said that the very serious humanitarian situation and the need to deliver assistance to the people of Tigray required strong measures, including the lifting of all restrictions on delivery of aid. In this context, France supports the efforts of the chief of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mr Griffiths, who is currently in Ethiopia.

The President also indicated that the development of the situation required the negotiation of a break in hostilities and the opening of political dialogue between the belligerents, with respect for the integrity and unity of Ethiopia.

France and its partners are ready to support Ethiopia accordingly.

CAR: France suspends Military cooperation

Paris suspended its military cooperation and budgetary aid to the Central African government, terming the Central African Republic (CAR) “complicit” in an anti-French campaign. (Image: illustration)

The French military ministry said that it considered the Central African state as “complicit” in a Russian-led anti-French campaign.

“On several occasions, the Central African authorities have made commitments that they have not kept, both politically towards the opposition and in terms of their behaviour
towards France, which is the target of a massive disinformation campaign in CAR,” Paris said.

“The Russians are not to blame, but the Central Africans are at best accomplices in this campaign,” it added.

In April, five French military aid workers who were posted to the Central African Defence Ministry were recalled to Paris. The military training provided to the Central African Armed Forces (Faca) by troops stationed in Gabon has also been suspended, the ministry stated, confirming information from the French news website Mediapart.

France, a former colonial power, continues to contribute around 100 soldiers to the European mission EUTM-RCA, which mobilizes nearly 200 soldiers to train the FACA.

Ten of the soldiers do participate in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca), which has 12,000 blue helmets in the region.

When prompted by AFP on the budgetary restrictions imposed, the French Foreign Ministry however did not reveal any figure.

France, which intervened from 2013 to 2016 through Operation Sangaris to stop the violence, handed over some 1,400 assault rifles to the Faca in December 2018 after obtaining an exemption to the UN embargo.

A few months earlier, Russia had made a remarkable entry into this former French “pré carré” by delivering arms to the Faca at the beginning of 2018 and by installing a contingent of military instructors.

Last December, reportedly Russia urgently dispatched hundreds of paramilitaries to the aid of President Faustin Archange Touadéra’s army, threatened by a rebellion.

Numerous witnesses and NGOs claim that these paramilitaries are fighters from the Russian private security group Wagner, which Moscow continues to deny.

SAHEL: President Deby son takes lead

Brussels 20.04.2021 The Chadian army have confirmed that General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, a four-star general who is the son of slain president Idriss Deby Itno, will replace him at the head of a military council.

Mahamat Mahadi Ali, head of the Change and Concord in Chad group, said Deby went to visit the combat zone on Sunday,April 18, near to Nokou, close to Niger border, about 280 kilometres north of the capital N’Djamena, in the Kanem region, in western Chad.

As part of measures following Deby’s death the country’s constitution has been suspended and Chad will be ruled by a military council led by Deby’s son Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, for 18 months.

Deby’s son had served as an officer in the Chadian army and was until Tuesday, April 20, morning the head of the presidential guard.

Deby was seen as a strong ally of France and had earlier this year announced a deployment of Chadian troops to bolster the G5 Sahel force operating in Mali.

N’Djamena is also home to a French military base, which supports France’s Operation Barkhane, focused on fighting Islamist insurgents in Mali.

France: knife attack in Pau

A Sudanese asylum seeker who fatally stabbed an employee at a migrant reception centre in city of Pau in southern France on Friday, February 19, had no terrorist intentions, the Pau prosecutor said on Saturday February 20.

Prosecutor Cecile Gensac said that the assailant was not on a national list of terrorism suspects. Following Friday’s attack he was detained by staff at the asylum centre.

“Two employees of the centre intervened, with a lot of courage. They held him by the arms and locked him in an office. He put up no resistance,” Cecile Gensac a news conference.

The Prosecutor said the 38-year-old assailant had arrived in France in 2015 and had spent some time at the immigration centre.

Following two convictions and jail time for acts of violence in 2017-2019, he had lost the right to apply for asylum and was set to be deported to his home country, but he had not responded to a request to report to immigration authorities, she said.

She added that he had come to the centre several times in recent days to try and get documents that might extend his stay in France and that he held a grudge against staff at the centre.

The victim was the head of the asylum service at the centre, who died there an hour after being stabbed repeatedly in the throat, the prosecutor said.

The attack led to new calls from the far-right for a tougher stance on immigration.

“After all we have suffered, why was a Sudanese migrant still on our territory after he had been condemned and imprisoned for what seemed to be armed violence,” far-right Rassemblement National vice president Johan Bardella wrote on his Twitter feed.

“The question is not why this Sudanese was not deported. It is knowing what this guy was doing with us.
But for Darmanin it still has nothing to do with migration. He is right.This is no longer immigration.
This is an #invasion. ENOUGH!” French polemist Jean Messiha wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

SAHEL: Chad to deploy thousand troops

Chad will deploy some 1,000 troops in Sahel to the tri-border region of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali to reinforce national armies that, backed by French and European allies, are battling Islamist groups, according to French and Chadian sources. (Image: illustration).

The deployment will be announced during a summit on February 15-16 in the Chadian capital N’Djamena held to tackle the situation in the Sahel, a French presidency official and a senior Chadian security official said.

The move is announced while France, which sent troops to the region in 2013 to repel jihadists who had occupied northern Mali, considers adjusting its military presence. This could entail France pulling some of the 5,100 soldiers that are involved in counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel.

Although France has claimed military successes against Islamist insurgents over the past year, it is searching for an exit strategy. The grinding operation has cost billions of euros and left 55 French soldiers dead, yet violence is persisting with signs it is spreading to coastal West Africa.

The French official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said President Emmanuel Macron could decide to hold off for a few weeks before adjusting his forces as he continues to consult with Sahel and European partners on the way forward.

“We now have very encouraging signals of an imminent deployment of the Chadian battalion,” the official told reporters in a briefing ahead of the summit. Financing from partner countries and equipment from France had been secured.

Chadian troops were last year mostly engaged in fighting insurgents from Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa in the Lake Chad region.

Chad’s armed forces are among the most respected and battle hardened in West Africa, a reputation forged during decades of regional wars and rebellions, and honed in the 2013 campaign in the deserts of northern Mali.

Their deployment to the tri-border theatre would enable French and other forces to re-orient their military mission to central Mali and to target Islamist leaders linked to al Qaeda.

The Chadian security source said the troops were already en route to the tri-border region, known as Liptako-Gourma, a region slightly larger than Germany, where the allies are trying to wrest back control of terrain from the insurgents.

Niger’s ruling party presidential candidate Mohamed Bazoum told a campaign rally in the Tillabery region, situated in Liptako-Gourma, that Chadian troops will be based there.

Kabuga transfer to Arusha UN Court

High-level Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga,84, can be handed over to a United Nations tribunal for trial, a top French court ruled on 30 Septembere.

Kabuga is suspected of playing a major role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsi Rwandans were murdered by a Hutu uprising. Prosecutors accuse Kabuga of chairing a radio station that helped orchestrate the genocide, as well as working to create and fund a genocidal militia in the capital, Kigali. He used to be a wealthy businessman at the time.

The 84-year-old had evaded justice for 25 years but was caught outside Paris in May of this year.

The Court of Cassation in Paris upheld an order from a lower court to send Kabuga to a UN tribunal on charges including genocide, persecution and extermination.

He will now stand trial at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) based in Arusha, Tanzania. The MICT took charge of prosecuting Rwandan genocide suspects after the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) formally closed in 2015.

His lawyers had argued that he should not be extradited due to his frail health and claimed that the UN tribunal would be biased.

France to pursue Barkhane operation in Sahel

France will pursue its military counter terrorist operations in Mali against Islamist insurgence despite the ousting of the country’s President two days ago by a coup d’état, the French armed force minister Florence Parly announced.

“The Barkhane operation, asked for by the Mali population and authorised by the U.N. Security Council, continues,” Florence Parly wrote on her offical Twitter micro blog.

Barkahne is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation which started six years ago (August 1, 2014), and is led by the French military against Islamist militiants in Sahel region. At present France located around 5 000 miliatry there, under operational command of headquarts in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.

“Barkhane brought a remarkable tactics success, but it has not reached the strategic victory yet” said the French military expert Arnaud Danjean in his recent interview to Le Figaro newspaper.

The operation is lead in cooperation with five countries, and former French colonies, which has entered new partnership with a former metropol: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.These countries are collectively referred to as the “G5 Sahel”. A crescent-shaped dune in the Sahara desert named Barkhane became the name of this military mission.

There are aslo around 100 Estonian troops focus on protection for the Barkhane base, undertaking checkpoints, providing escorts and conducting patrols. The need for strengthinging vigilance was put forward in 2019, when troops thwarted a suicide car bomb and gun attack at the Gao camp. Six Estonian personnel were injured in the incident.

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