Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad (Sahel region) announced recently that they would create three border areas for military patrols and operations in their efforts to fight insecurity in the region. The French troops are advising and assisting these units, reports New York Times.
“Over the past several years, French troops have battled Al Qaeda’s North Africa affiliate and other Islamist extremists in Mali, and have helped African troops thwart Boko Haram, a violent militancy that has spilled from Nigeria to attack Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The Islamic State is also a looming threat,” says New York Times.
Trump administration will continue Obama-era policies of providing financial, logistical and intelligence support to France in the Sahel region avoiding to put American combat forces in yet another global hot spot since the US troops are already fighting the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, and in Afghanistan combating the Taliban.
France has a 4,000-member force in West Africa has a mission headquarters in Chad, it has concentrated its air power, including three Mirage fighter jets, five Reaper reconnaissance drones in Niger, special operations troops in Burkina Faso and its logistics hub in Ivory Coast.
It is a risky mission for French troops and their African allies fighting extremists in loosely guarded borders.