Second Sahel anti-terror force mission begins


PARIS: Five Sahel nations launched a second operation against extremist groups in the African region on Monday following a meeting with their partner in Paris.

The ministers of Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Niger met in the French capital to discuss terrorism in the Sahel region.

Hosted by French Defence Minister Florence Parly, the meeting discussed joint efforts for the anti-terror operations.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Mali’s Defence Minister Tiena Coulibaly confirmed that the second operation started Monday.

The first operation was conducted with French troops in November 2017.

The Sahel region stretches across the south-central latitudes of North Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea.

Several extremist groups are reportedly active in the region – including Daesh, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram – which occasionally carry out attacks on military and civilian targets.

This is especially the case in Mali, where militants overran much of the country in 2012 before being expelled following the intervention of French military forces.

A G5 Sahel summit was held in Paris in December 2017 which was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron.

He said the European Union had pledged €50 million ($59 million) while the US promised $60 million and the United Arab Emirates $30 million to fight extremism in the Sahel region.

Macron also said he foresaw victories “in the first half of 2018”.

The next summit is due to be held in Brussels on Feb 23.