Macron touches down in Mali for anti-terrorism conference

As one of the G5 Sahel countries, France is urging greater support for the Sahel region amid mounting concerns over security.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The new Sahel force will support national armies trying to catch militants across porous frontiers.

France and its African partners must together eradicate "terrorists, thugs and murderers" in the volatile Sahel region, French President Emmanuel Macron said at the opening of an anti-terrorist summit in Mali's capital Bamako on Sunday.

The so-called G5 Sahel countries south of the Sahara – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – have pledged to fight militants on their own soil with instability and attacks on the rise.

"Every day we must combat terrorists, thugs, murderers ... who we must steadfastly and with determination eradicate together," said Macron, who was making his second visit to Mali since taking office in May.

TRT World's Nafisa Latic has more.

Strong ties

Macron visited Gao in northern Mali in May, his first foreign visit as president outside Europe, and promised French troops would remain "until the day there is no more Islamic terrorism in the region".

France intervened to chase out Al-Qaeda linked militants who had overtaken key northern cities in Mali in 2013.

That mission evolved into the current Barkhane deployment launched in 2014 with an expanded mandate for counter-terror operations across the Sahel.

The new Sahel force will support national armies trying to catch militants across porous frontiers, and will work closely with Barkhane.

Operations across Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, all hit with frequent attacks, will be coordinated with French troops, a source in the French presidency said earlier this week, while help would be given to set up command centres.

TRTWorld and agencies