France and five west African states have agreed to combine their military forces under one command structure to fight a growing Islamist militancy in the Sahel region. Paris is committing 220 additional troops.
French president Emmanuel Macron had called the leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania, known as the G5, to the southwestern French town of Pau to discuss the battle against insurgents in the Sahel, an arid region just below the Sahara.
The former colonial power, France, has forty-five hundred troops in Mali and the wider Sahel, but security has been worsened, especially in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Macron said the situation had now been clarified.
The new structure, named coalition for the Sahel, brings the G5 states, French forces and any future troops under a single command. It aims to enable joint operations, greater intelligence-sharing and quicker response time.
Two Pilots Killed In Military Trainer Aircraft Crash In Algeria
Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune has confirmed the killing of two pilots in a military plane crash. Tebboune tweeted early on Tuesday, saying that the plane involved is a trainer aircraft.
It crashed in Algeria’s Oum El Bouaghi province, 500 km east of the capital, Algiers.
There was no immediate confirmation on the cause of the crash.
France Urges U.S. To Stay In Fight Against Islamists In Africa’s
French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, has appealed to the United States not to slash support for French military operations in west Africa, where groups linked to Al Qaeda and Islamic State are expanding their foothold.
Last year, the Pentagon had announced plans to withdraw hundreds of military personnel from Africa, as it redirects resources to challenges from china and Russia, after two decades focused on counter-terrorism operations.
Those cuts could deepen following an ongoing global troop review spearheaded by defense secretary Mark Esper.
France is worried about the possibility as it relies on U.S. Intelligence and logistics for its forty-five hundred-strong mission in the Sahel. The deaths of 13 French soldiers in a helicopter crash during a combat mission in Mali in November, has increased France’s determination to secure more support in the zone.
A senior French defence ministry official says it is time to increase, not ease, pressure on militants to prevent Islamic state from rebuilding in the Sahel.
The U.S. currently has 6,000 military personnel in Africa.
Gambia Govt Bans Protests, Silences Critical Media
Gambia’s president, Adama Barrow’s decision to stay in office for five years instead of his initial three-year pledge, is creating serious social disorder in the country as protests continue.
The government has resorted to banning groups and silencing the media to see if that would quell the people’s dissent. The government has banned the “three years is up” movement. That is the group that has been mobilizing the people to demand that Barrow leave. The government says it is a “subversive, violent, and illegal movement.
Police in Banjul, the capital, fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters on Sunday. Demonstrators responded by throwing stones and setting tires on fire. More than a hundred thirty protesters were arrested by police. And more than two dozen were injured
A local hospital director said three persons were killed in the clashes.
The government has denied that any protester was killed.
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