More than 17 soldiers in Niger were killed and 11 went missing in an ambush close to Mali border, a government spokesman said.
The offensive was launched near the town of Tongo Tongo, where fighters from an Islamic State affiliate previously killed four U.S. special forces and four Nigerien soldiers.
“…The governments of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad – member states of the G5 Sahel, a regional organization for security cooperation created in 2014 – are having great difficulty in facing the progressive spread of jihadist violence and the strengthening of criminal trafficking networks”, Ph.D Camillo Casola writes.
G5 Sahel countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger– are expected to have a meeting in Brussels next week to enhance security and military cooperation with the EU amid intensified attacks of Islamic terrorists.
On Sunday morning, the peacekeepers were again targeted in Mali by those who want to spread fear and division.
The terrorist attack on a MINUSMA camp deployed in northern Mali caused the death of eight Chadian contingent soldiers, as well as dozens of wounded.
“The European Union extends its sincere condolences to the families of the victims, Chad, Mali and the United Nations, and wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded. This attack also strikes the entire international community. Those responsible must be arrested and prosecuted” says the statement of the European External Actions Service spokesperson.
“We reiterate our strong support for those who work for the restoration of peace in Mali, such as MINUSMA and Barkhane. The European Union will continue to work alongside Mali in this direction, as well as with the other G5 Sahel countries – some of which have recently been attacked – to roll back terrorism and allow people to live in safety and harmony. The recent resumption of Joint Force operations, which the European Union strongly supports, is in this respect a favorable development.”
The Council extended the mandate of the EU training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) for two years, until 18 May 2020. The Council also amended the mandate of the mission to include in its objectives the provision of advice and training support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force, as part of the EU’s ongoing efforts to support the G5 Sahel process.
The Council also agreed to allocate a significantly increased budget of € 59.7 million to the mission for the period from 19 May 2018 to 18 May 2020, compared to € 33.4 for the current two-year period.
This decision means that the efforts carried out over recent months to regionalise the work of both civilian and military CSDP missions (EUTM Mali, EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUCAP Sahel Niger) in the Sahel will become more operational. The aim is to support regional security cooperation, as set out in the Council conclusions on Mali and the Sahel of 19 June 2017.
EUTM Mali assists in the reconstruction of effective and accountable Malian armed forces capable of ensuring the long-term security of Mali and, under civilian authority, restoring the country’s territorial integrity. To this effect, EUTM Mali delivers training to units of the Malian armed forces and aids the development of an autonomous training capability. The mission also provides advice to the Malian authorities on reforming the army.
The headquarters of the mission are located in Bamako, Mali. The commander of the mission is Brigadier General Enrique Millán Martinez, a Spanish national who took up his duties on 31 January 2018.
The mission is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to security and development in the Sahel. There are two other CSDP missions in the region: EUCAP Sahel Mali, which supports the Malian state’s efforts to ensure constitutional and democratic order, implement the conditions for lasting peace and maintain its authority throughout the entire territory; and EUCAP Sahel Niger, which supports the fight against organised crime and terrorism in Niger.
Mali was once again the target of terrorist violence. Nearly 30 Malian and Burkinabe citizens, including several women and children, were killed on their way to Boni fair in the center of the country. On the same day, several attacks against the Malian security forces cost the lives of several people.
“The European Union expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and reiterates its solidarity with the peoples of Mali and Burkina Faso. We remain firmly committed to supporting the efforts of Mali and G5 Sahel in the fight against the terrorist threat and in the stabilization of the Sahel”- says the text of the statement of the European External Action Service, commenting on the terrorist act in Mali.
Image: illustration – Mali women
The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani had a meeting with the President of the Republic of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno. The discussion has been focused on the fragility of Sahel´s region security.
“Chad’s contribution in the fight against terrorism (Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in particular) is crucial to the stability of the region, as are the efforts of all Sub-Saharan African countries,” – said president Tajani after the meeting. “The European Union and the international community have to support Chad. In this context, I welcome and encourage the recent creation of G5 Sahel Force”.
“We have an aligned view of the challenges posed by the situation in Libya, in particular, when it comes to the terrorist threat and persistent instability of the Sahel region. Chad is key to stability of Libya as security of its borders is to manage migration flows,” -Tajani underlined.
“Europe and Africa face the same challenge with regards to managing migration flows. We must go to the root of the problem and invest better and more in Africa, within the framework of robust economic diplomacy to create growth and employment. The recently adopted European Fund for Sustainable Development for Africa (EFSD) by the European Parliament is the step in the right direction. However, if we want to be successful, this fund has to be considerably augmented” – Tajani concluded.
“We stand together in our fight against terrorism,” EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said in remarks to the press this morning. “These are difficult and dramatic hours which testify to how European and Africans are brothers and sisters in both the fight against terrorism and in the solidarity of our response to it,” Mogherini said.
“We will continue to work together day after day and will not let terrorism win,” Mogherini added in a press conference later in the day.
The EU currently has more than 500 troops from 27 countries deployed in Mali with a mandate to provide capacity-building to the Malian army and support their mission to restore Malian territorial integrity, protect the population and reduce the threat posed by terrorist groups.
EU foreign ministers meeting today in Luxembourg adopted positions on counter-terrorism as well as the Africa-EU partnership and EU support to Mali and the Sahel region. They reiterated the EU’s full support to the implementation of the Malian Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. They also commended the political leadership of the G5 Sahel countries G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad) for recently setting up a joint counter-terrorism force, which the EU recently announced it would support with EUR 50 million.
The EU takes an integrated approach to promote the security, stability and development of the region. In addition to its support for the G5 Sahel force, the EU invests heavily in sustainable development in Mali and the region. The EU’s development cooperation initiatives in Mali mainly focus on political and economic governance, strengthening institutional capacities and regional integration. The EU furthermore provides around EUR 46 million a year in humanitarian aid to Mali.
“Our partnership is very strong and will be consolidated, strengthened on the occasion of the Africa-EU summit this November,” Mogherini said.
Luxembourg, 19.06.2017. Today, the Council adopted conclusions on Mali and the Sahel recalling its strong integrated approach towards achieving stabilisation of the region. This approach includes full range of relevant instruments in the field of diplomacy, long-term development cooperation, support to human rights, stabilisation efforts, resilience building, humanitarian assistance, migration management and security, including CSDP missions.
The Council strongly condemns yesterday’s terrorist attack in Bamako.
The Council reiterates its full support to the implementation of the Malian Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, with full involvement of civil society, women and youth, as the only way to restore peace and security in the country. The High Representative’s participation on 5 June 2017 to the Comité de suivi de l’accord de paix (CSA) in Bamako confirms the strong commitment of the EU to the agreement. The EU also encourages an enhanced engagement of the G5 Sahel countries in the Malian peace process.
The EU commends the political leadership of the G5 Sahel countries, ECOWAS and the African Union in their efforts to support regional security, development and reconciliation. The EU welcomes the initiative of the Heads of State of the G5 Sahel on the establishment of the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The EU has been the first to announce a financial contribution, with EUR 50 million as planned support to this initiative.