France to reconsider military strength in Sahel region,

France will reconsider its military strategy in the Sahel region and very likely reduce military deployment as part of Operation Barkhane after significant military successes in 2020, the defense minister said.

“We will most likely have to adjust this device: a reinforcement by definition is temporary,” Florence Parly told daily Le Parisien in an interview published on Monday, responding to a question of additional reinforcement of 600 soldiers which brought the strength of Barkhane forces to 5,100 troops last year.

A decision on this will be taken at the next joint summit of France and the G5 Sahel countries in February in N’djamena, the capital of Chad, by President Emmanuel Macron and the head of the armies, she said. […]

In the coming months, she said, the Takuba force, a special joint force of European and American troops, will be fully operational in the region to fight alongside the Malian armed forces, in particular in Menaka, an active sector for Al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups, where the recent attacks took place.

Since the launch of Operation Barkhane in 2013, 49 French soldiers have died. Last week, five French soldiers were killed and others injured in two separate incidents after their armored vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Mali, according to the French minister of armed forces.

More than 5,000 French soldiers are deployed under Operation Barkhane which is led by France alongside the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad) to fight against terrorist groups in the region, particularly al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Daesh/ISIS in the Greater Sahara. Läs artikel