French President Emmanuel Macron announced Monday the dispatch of 220 additional soldiers to the Sahel to strengthen the French military force Barkhane, which is fighting jihadists in the region.
"I have decided to engage additional combat capabilities, 220 soldiers will reinforce Barkhane's troops" (who already has 4,500 men, editor's note), said the French president after a summit with the presidents from the G5 Sahel countries (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso) in Pau (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).
For its part, Washington announced that it wanted to reduce its military presence in Africa. The resources that the Pentagon devotes to Africa or the Middle East "could be reduced and then redirected," said the Chief of the General Staff, General Mark Milley. These forces would "improve the preparation of our forces in the United States or to the Pacific," he said.
“Unworthy” anti-French speeches
This is "bad news for us," responded Emmanuel Macron. "I hope to be able to convince President Trump that the fight against terrorism is also playing out in this region and that the Libyan subject cannot be separated from the situation in the Sahel and in the Lake Chad region," he said. also stated.
The addition of French soldiers is likely to pass with difficulty to the populations of the region. Last Friday, a thousand Malians had demonstrated in Bamako to demand the departure of foreign troops, including French.
"The speeches that I have heard in recent weeks are unworthy (…) because they serve other interests, either those of terrorist groups (…) or those of other foreign powers who simply want to see Europeans more far, because they have their own agenda, an agenda of mercenaries ", denounced the French president, saying that" the French army "was in the Sahel" for security and stability ", not for" others interests ”.