Tag Archives: Sahel

EU comitted to Sahel

The EU Foreign affairs Council exchanged views on the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Sahel and the role the EU can play as leading partner in the region. The debate has been centred on ways to increase the impact of the EU’s actions supporting security, stability and development. The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell deplored death toll in Sahel region  – Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad, inderlinging the number of growing number of causalties last year amounting to five thousand people (4,779), among them 1500 soldiers.

 

The EU commitment to Sahel is considerable and unprecedented: because of the amounts mobilized but, above all, because of the longevity and intensity of the European political and human investment. Since 2014, the EU – Commission and Member States – has mobilized more than € 8 billion to respond to the multiple challenges of the region.

However the EU must do more, differently and better, and be more effective and better understood by the populations, the joint action must be rethought, the European diplomat said. The EU dialogue with our Sahelian partners must be more frank, more in-depth and be based on mutual trust in order to break the terrorist dialectic which seeks to divide all those who want peace in the Sahel.

EU defence ministers to visit Sahel

The French Defence minister Florence Parly (pictured) expected to arrive to the Sahel on Sunday January 19 with her counterparts from Estonia, Sweden and Portugal, the countries ready to support Barkhane’s trooops in the fight against jihadist armed groups.

“I am going to the Sahel on Sunday, I will be accompanied by the Swedish Minister for Defense, as well as by the Estonian Minister for Defense and finally the Portuguese Minister“, said Florence Parly on Europe 1.

We will continue to support our Sahelian partners and, in addition, we are calling for internationalization, for partners to join us to help the countries of the Sahel to fight this fight,” she added.

Estonia has confirmed its participation in the future coalition of special forces (“Takuba”) which France has taken the initiative to support by 4,500 troops of Barkhane in the Sahel. Sweden and Portugal could also be present.

We are not alone and there will certainly be more of us there when, in the summer, this Takuba force, which will be made up of European special forces, will be able to accompany the Malian armed forces,” said Florence Parly.

Barkhane does not act alone. The last operation that we conducted recently, more than 50% of the forces that were involved in this operation were partner forces, Sahelian and European. ”

Barkhane: France sends 220 troops

Faced with a persistent jihadist threat, the leaders of the G5 Sahel countries and France announced the establishment of a new operational framework with redefined priorities and concentrated action on the so-called “three borders” area between Mali , Niger and Burkina Faso.

The military coalition will have a “joint command” between the Barkhane force and the joint force of the G5 Sahel, “by integrating our intelligence forces, our military forces” in the area of the three borders, “with a much stronger latitude of engagement. ”, said Emmanuel Macron.

“Beyond that, I decided to engage additional combat capabilities – 220 soldiers to initiate this dynamic will swell the troops already present on the Barkhane field”, which currently counts 4,500 men, added the French head of state.

“The priority is the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), which does not prevent us from fighting all the armed terrorist groups but it is the priority enemy because the most dangerous,” he said. for follow-up. A month after threatening to withdraw French troops from the region in a context of anti-French sentiment, Emmanuel Macron estimated that he had obtained the necessary “clarification” from his partners who in a joint declaration expressed the wish to see the Barkhane operation.

Chinagodrar: 89 military perished in Niger

The death toll from the January 9 attack on Niger army base next to Chinagodrar city has risen to at least 89, four security sources said, surpassing a raid last month in Inates that killed 71 soldiers as the deadliest against Nigerien forces in years.

Commenting on the recent attack the government officials informed that 25 soldiers had been killed, according to a provisional toll, while the troops have been successfully repelling the attack by assailants close to Chinagodrar.

Later four different security sources told Reuters news agency that at least 89 members of Niger’s security forces perished in the attack were buried on January 11 in the capital, Niamey.

One source said the actual death toll was most likely higher because some soldiers were buried immediately in Chinagodrar.

Defense Minister Issoufou Kara be said that an updated death toll would be announced after a national security council meeting on Sunday.

Burkina-Faso mourns victims of jihad

Thirty-five civilians, including 31 women, were killed on Tuesday in a jihadist attack in Arbinda, in the north of Burkina Faso, one of the deadliest tolls in the history of this Sahel country, which declared 48 hours of national mourning. Four soldiers and three gendarmes also perished, and “80 terrorists” and seven members of security forces were killed, according to the president and the staff of the Burkinabè armies, who had announced the attack earlier in a statement.

It is the Burkinabè president Roch Kaboré in person, who has often been criticized for his lack of grip in the face of terrorist groups, who announced on Twitter the macabre record of this “barbaric attack”.
    
He praised the “commitment and bravery” of the Defense and Security Forces, which “repelled the attack on the Arbinda detachment”.

On December 25 morning hours, “a significant number of terrorists attacked simultaneously the military detachment and the civilian populations of Arbinda”, in the province of Soum, according to the general staff of the armies. The attack, of “rare intensity”, lasted “several hours”.

President Roch Marc Kabore declared two days of national mourning in the west African country in response to the attack.

After several hours, troops repelled jihadists and seized a large number of weapons and motorbikes, the army said in a statement.

“As they fled, in a cowardly way the terrorists killed 35 civilians of whom 31 were women,” the government said in separate statement. It said 80 militants and seven members of the security forces were killed in the earlier fighting.

The incident followed an attack on a mining convoy in November killed nearly 40 people – victims of an Islamist insurgency that has ignited ethnic tensions and rendered large parts of the country ungovernable this year.

Sahel meeting in Paris postponed

Today at doorstep of the European Council  in Brussels French President Macron announced the a postponement to early 2020 of a meeting of Sahel countries, he said.

I made the decision yesterday with President Issoufou to postpone” the summit “because of the many deaths that Niger unfortunately suffered two days ago,” said Emmanuel Macron on Thursday upon his arrival at the European Council in Brussels.

The decision to postpone the event, which was to address French military presence in the region as well as the fight against terrorsit groups engaged in jihad, follows an attack on a remote military camp in Niger.

Islamist militants killed 71 soldiers in an attack on a military camp located near the border with Mali, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, in the deadliest raid against the Nigerien military in living memory.

AMENDED:

The attack on the the military camp near border with Mali lasted three hours, and claimed lives of 71 soldiers, and forced President Mahamadou Issoufou to shorten his trip to Egypt.

Announced  early December by the French head of state at the end of the NATO summit in London, the African event was aimed to bring together the leaders of the G5 Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad) and clarify the framework of intervention of France in the region.

“It is a need that responds to the observation of growing incomprehension in national public opinion, in the Sahel and in France,” said a source at the Elysée Palace. “You have to be able to come out of this summit with a common expression that recalls why France is there to support.”

Launched in August 2014, Operation Barkhane mobilizes some 4,500 French soldiers against the jihadist groups active in the region, soldiers called to be replaced by G5 Sahel force made up of 5,000 men from the local armies.

But in recent years, the French presence and that of 13,000 Blue Helmets of the MINUSMA  in Mali have been questioned by inhabitants and militants who denounce “occupation forces”.

French solider killed in Mali

French soldier perished in Mali after his armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, France’s presidency said in a statement.

Corporal Ronan Pointeau died near Menaka in eastern Mali following “the detonation of an improvised explosive device as his armoured vehicle drove by,” the statement said.

President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Pointeau’s “sacrifice” and said his thoughts were with the soldier’s colleagues and “his Sahelian brothers in arms, who are paying a heavy price in the fight against terrorism.”

The Sahel region became a battlefield between jihadists and governmental forces backed by troops from France and UN peacekeepers.

Pointeau’s death follows an attack on November 1 in the same region that left 49 Malian soldiers dead (according to the other reports 53 military and one civilian).

The offensive was claimed by the Islamic state group via their news site Amaq.

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