France may reduce its military presence in the African region of Sahel
PARIS, (BM) – The French are unofficially planning to reduce their military presence in the African Sahel later this year. At the same time, Paris is to count on increased military assistance in its activities in the region from the armed forces of European partners, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing the polish news agency Defence24.
France is to seriously consider reducing the forces previously deployed as an enhancement of the military presence in the Sahel states. As Defensepost reported, such talks were to be held with Paris’ regional partners during the visit of foreign ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian and defense of Florence Parly in Mali. France is active in the region due to the Barkhane operation against various terrorist organizations. However, President Emmanuel Macron was about to announce general changes in its operation. Unofficially, there is even talk of a group of several hundred French who are to return to their bases, from the current 5,100 military contingent.
It may be a return to the personnel states that were involved in Operation Barkhane until January this year, when a specific point-based offensive by Islamists forced Paris to send reinforcements. Hence, French policymakers repeatedly send signals about the effectiveness of Barkhane and the weakening of Islamists in various countries in this part of Africa. For example, an air strike has recently been reported that eliminated a group of nearly 50 Islamists at once.
At the same time, not all French politicians share an optimistic vision of Barkhane’s effects. Indicating the cost of conducting a military operation and personnel losses incurred in the course of military operations. It is assumed that as of 2013, up to fifty soldiers belonging to the French armed forces were to die in the Sahel. Not to mention the injured and those who have suffered health injuries due to, for example, PTSD post-traumatic stress.
France, together with the reduction of its own troops, intends, above all, to insist on increased activity on the part of its European partners, especially in the context of Mali. It is about the activity of Estonian troops, as well as contingents from the Czech Republic or Sweden. The current Minister of Defense of France was not to hide his optimism regarding this kind of European strengthening.
There are to be articulated accusations that the French troops somehow stuck in this part of the world, like the Americans before in Iraq. By conducting effective counter-terrorist activities, which, however, are ultimately wasted due to the systemic weakness of individual states, which themselves are unable to take responsibility for the security of their own territory.
Hence, the French destroy the forces of terrorists, but these have space to recreate their own potential. The target of the French troops and their regional and non-African partners cooperating with them are, above all, the locally interpenetrating structures affiliating with the so-called Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
French Mirage fighters and UAVs took part in anti-terrorist operation in Mali
French fighters, supported by an unmanned aerial vehicle, tracked down and eliminated a group of Islamists in Mali preparing to launch an attack, on November 3 as we reported earlier thi month. In addition to the loss of manpower of the opponent, weapons and equipment were obtained from a broken terrorist group.
The French authorities said that a group of over 50 terrorists had been eliminated in the course of the military operation in Mali. They were supposed to die mainly as a result of French air strikes carried out in the central part of this African country. It is noted that the attacked group was associated with the Al-Qaeda faction operating in this part of the world. The actions themselves against terrorists took place on October 30, but it was not until Monday for operational reasons that representatives of the French Ministry of Defense confirmed this fact. Specifying that the focus was on areas where Mali government troops clashed with Islamists. The toughest fights are to be waged near the borders with Burkina Faso and Niger.
The French emphasized that the forces operating in this region of the world as part of the Barkhane operation, neutralized over 50 jihadists belonging to Ansarul Islam. Moreover, some weapons and weapons resources belonging to terrorists have been secured. In the course of combat operations, as indicated, about 30 motorcycles used by Islamists for fast travel were destroyed. The attacked group was supposed to make a mistake in concentrating into one, compact column and thus was detected as part of the ISR activities conducted by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). As the terrorists tried to get out of sight, the French took up two Mirage 2000 manned machines in the air, and they finally attacked the targeted targets.
Four terrorists escaped from the attack and were detained, as indicated by Colonel Frederic Barbry. The inspection of the site of the attack was to lead to the conclusion that the targeted group was probably preparing to attack one of the military installations in Mali, and maybe also outside this country, especially since it was operated in the border area. In addition to weapons and means of transport, shahid belts (i.e. vests filled with explosives that could be used for suicide attacks) were also discovered.
This is not the only operation against terrorists in Africa mentioned by the French. Other actions were to be taken in the Sahara region with the use of a grouping of up to 3,000. military. In this case, the actions are aimed at the structures of groups affiliated with the so-called Islamic State (Da’ish). However, due to its continuation (activities were to be initiated last month) and the need to keep the secrecy protecting the soldiers in the field, the public is to be informed about the details at a later date.
The French media also reminds that the administration in Paris has recently managed to peacefully release also the French citizen Sophie Petronin in Mali. She was kidnapped in Gao city four years ago and has been in captivity ever since. Ultimately, the authorities of Mali and France were to negotiate her release in exchange for over 100 suspected of collaborating with Islamists. Along with Petronin, an important politician from Mali Soumail Cissé was released as part of the exchange. As you can see, thanks to the recovery of its own citizen in October this year, the French military was able to proceed to a more effective crackdown on terrorist groups. Without risking Petronin’s death and the execution made public by the Islamists.
French troops have killed the leader of Al-Qaeda in North Africa
French troops have killed the leader of Al Qaeda in North Africa during an operation in Mali, reported on June 6 this year BulgarianMilitary.com citing French Defense Minister Florence Parley statement. “On June 3, the French armed forces, with the support of local partners, neutralized the Emir of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb countries, Abdelmalek Droukdel, and several of his close accomplices during an operation in northern Mali.” Parley said.
The minister said recent military operations, along with the May 19 capture of Mohammed al-Mrabat, a veteran jihadist who held senior positions in the Islamic State in Greater Sahara, had dealt a “heavy blow” to terrorist groups in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Abdelmalek Droukdel was a key figure in al Qaeda, subject to years of persecution. His group, the Islamic Maghreb, was particularly active in fighting in Mali before French troops intervened in 2013 in the Sahel region of North Africa.
The group has amassed millions from kidnapping foreigners for ransom and has turned much of West Africa into a very dangerous place for many international organizations helping the local population. Also known as Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, Abdelmalek Droukdel fought in the Algerian civil war in the 1990s and later joined Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, spreading movement through the Sahel region of Africa under the umbrella of the global terrorist network. .
French troops in the region, numbering about 5,200 people, intervened after jihadists seized territory in northern Mali and the violence spread to neighboring countries, the BBC reported.
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