Macron in Mali for diplomatic push on Sahel anti-jihad force

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Mali on Sunday to boost Western backing for a regional anti-jihadist force, with France urging greater support for the Sahel region amid mounting insecurity.
The so-called “G5 Sahel” countries south of the Sahara – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – have pledged to fight jihadists on their own soil with instability and Islamist attacks
on the rise.
Macron is joining these nations’ heads of state in Bamako for a special summit where France’s backing for the force will be announced, with a likely focus on providing equipment.
Based in Sevare, central Mali, the 5 000-strong G5 Sahel force aims to bolster 12 000 UN peacekeepers and France’s own 4 000-member Operation Barkhane, which is operating in the region.
Macron is also looking to extra backing from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States – which already has a drone base in Niger beyond a pledge of $57.2 million made by the European Union.

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