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Macron Largely Withdraws French Troops from the Sahel

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French President Emmanuel Macron announced the end of Operation Barkhane yesterday. The military mission has been fighting jihadist terror groups in five West African countries since 2013.

 

International cooperation should take over from the French, Macron said.

“We are embarking on a major reform of our military presence in the Sahel. The timetable will be determined in the coming weeks,” the French president said at a news conference. Operation Barkhane, the French military mission against jihadism in the Sahel, is now coming to an end.

Since 2014, France has been conducting the operation with approximately 5,100 French troops in the ‘G5 Sahel’ (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad).

In 2011, conflict broke out in Mali and civilians, and armed militias fled to neighbouring countries. Several hotbeds of conflict soon arose in the Sahel region. Extremist jihadists linked to terror groups such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) have been terrorizing the West African region ever since. The UN Refugee Agency estimates the number of people displaced at about 3.3 million.

The horrific crisis causes a lot of (civil) suffering. On the UN Refugee Agency page, Rinata, a Burkinabe woman who fled after her in-laws were murdered before her eyes: “Women have been raped.

Their men were murdered before their very eyes, after which they were raped in front of the rest of the family. They are very vulnerable and startle at the smallest things. Nightmares also torment them at night.”

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