G5 Sahel leaders discuss France’s military exit from Mali

The heads of state of the G5 Sahel are meeting this Friday in a virtual summit to discuss mainly the…

The heads of state of the G5 Sahel are meeting this Friday in a virtual summit to discuss mainly the modalities of the withdrawal of French soldiers.Since the announcement in June of the end of the Barkhane operation, France has not disclosed the detailed plan for the withdrawal of its troops. A month later, President Emmanuel Macron took part in the discussions on 9 July.


On a visit to Paris, after a stay in Germany, the head of state of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, was alongside his French counterpart. Mahamat Idriss Déby, Colonel Assimi Goïta, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré and Mohamed Cheikh El Ghazouani, respectively president of Chad, Mali, Burkina and Mauritania, participated from a distance.


Taken by surprise by Emmanuel Macron’s decision, the Sahelian leaders are legitimately wondering what Paris has in store for the fight against jihadism in a region ten times the size of mainland France. This meeting should also put on the table the issue of negotiation with the jihadist groups agitated in the Sahel.


At the end of the meeting, the new Executive Secretary of the G5 Sahel, replacing Maman Sambo Sidikou, will be known. For his part, Mohamed Bazoum will extend the exchanges at the Elysée with a “working lunch.” Mahamadou Issoufou’s successor will also hold a “joint press conference” with the French president.


Launched on August 1, 2014, Operation Barkhane is a continuation of Serval. The objective was, for France, to fight against the spread of terrorism and to train local armies so that they are able to curb the threat.


Currently, 5100 French soldiers are deployed in the Sahel. In eight years of engagement on the ground, France has lost about 50 soldiers. Emmanuel Macron is now banking on the European Takuba task force. Created on January 13, 2020 at the Pau summit (France), its mission is to advise, assist and support conventional combat units.


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