First modification: 07/03/2021 – 19:58
The French Defense Ministry announced on Friday that the French military forces resumed joint operations with Malian troops in the African country. President Emmanuel Macron even suspended the joint mission on June 3, with a duration of one month, following the new coup.
France returns to the field in Mali. The military resumed joint operations with their Malian counterparts, after suspending bilateral cooperation due to the May coup. This was announced on July 2 by the French Ministry of Defense.
“After consultations with the Malian transitional authorities and the countries of the region, France resumes its commitments with the transitional authorities” backed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and “has decided to resume joint military operations as well as national advisory missions, which were suspended since June 3, “Paris said in a statement.
“France remains fully committed, with its European and American allies, together with the Sahel countries and international missions” to fight the jihadist groups that abound in the Sahel, concluded the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
Consultations to replace the anti-jihadist operation Barkhane
A group of colonels urged President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to resign in August 2020. Under international pressure, the coup plotters entered a transitional period set at 18 months and led by civilians. But on May 24, Colonel Assimi Goïta, who remained the true strongman of the transition, trampled on this compromise by arresting the president and prime minister. Since then, he has been proclaimed transitional president by the Constitutional Court.
Thus, after this second coup in nine months, President Emmanuel Macron declared in June his decision to end the French military operation Barkhane against Islamist militants in the region.
But after that statement, the president went on to explain that the consultations on the continuation of the country’s commitment in the Sahel should be carried out with the European partners and the United States, as well as with the G5 Sahel countries (Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania). Even so, the force that acts against jihadism – currently with 5,100 people – will disappear in favor of a much more specific device, focused on terrorism and the accompaniment of local forces in combat.
Although, “this transformation does not mean (our) departure from the Sahel, nor that we will stop our anti-terrorist operations” in the region, stressed this Friday the French Minister of the Armies, Florence Parly.
Without Barkhane, Takuba is the expected great force
“Collectively, (we) Europeans, have the responsibility to secure the southern flank of Europe. It is essential not to allow the Sahel and Africa in general to become a zone of refuge and expansion for these terrorist groups affiliated with Al- Qaeda and the Islamic State group, “Parly added.
To reduce this in the Sahel, France relies heavily on the emergence of the European special forces group Takuba, created at the initiative of Paris to accompany Malian units in combat.
“Today, we do not see inflections, reluctance or questions related to the political situation” in Mali, assured the minister, valuing “it is important that we consolidate Takuba, that we see him play an important role in the coming years.”
Takuba currently has 600 people in Mali. Half are French and the rest of Estonian, Czech, Swedish and Italian nationality. Romania has also agreed to participate.
With AFP and Reuters