AFRICA: France and its allies intend to concentrate their efforts against jihadist expansion in the so-called three-border area
French Army Minister Florence Parly announced on Monday in Bamako new military operations to come in the so-called three-border area ( Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger ) where France and its allies intend to focus their efforts against jihadist expansion.
À Bamako. Au quartier général de l’ONU au Mali, avec mes homologues suédois, portugais et estonien. Format inédit. pic.twitter.com/MbblWjXfzA
— Florence Parly (@florence_parly) January 20, 2020
“New operations will develop in the coming weeks in this very special area of the three borders,” Florence Parly told reporters after being received with her Swedish, Estonian and Portuguese counterparts by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. She did not provide further details.
The minister was visiting the sub-region to implement the conclusions of the Pau summit, which a week earlier had brought together French President Emmanuel Macron and his G5 Sahel counterparts (Mali, Niger, Burkina, Chad and Mauritania) faced with the escalation of jihadist violence. Before arriving in Mali on Monday, she was in Chad. His visit coincided with a suicide bombing bearing the mark of Boko Haram that killed nine civilians in the province of Lake Chad.
“Coalition for the Sahel”
In Pau, the presidents had affirmed their desire to focus the military effort on the region of the three borders – an effort actually already underway according to experts – where the deadly attacks by jihadists have been concentrated in recent months. They had designated the group “Islamic State in the Greater Sahara” as the priority enemy.
The Pau summit, supposed to tighten ties in the face of an increasingly palpable anti-French sentiment in the countries concerned, also led to the announcement of the creation of a “coalition for the Sahel” bringing together the G5 Sahel, France, the other partners already committed and all the countries which will want to join it.
This coalition would include the European special forces group Takuba to which Paris is working to rally several countries. Estonia, which is already participating in the French anti-jihadist Barkhane mission with 50 men, has committed to supplying forty others for Takuba.