French military to work with G5 Sahel troops
French troops will work with the new force from five Sahel countries fighting armed Islamists in west and central Africa, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced Thursday.
"This force is first going to secure the borders, particularly in the areas where terrorist groups have developed," the newly appointed minister said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper. "Accompanying them is the priority for the Barkhane operation."
France has deployed soldiers in the region since January 2013, when it spearheaded an international military initiative against Al-Qaeda jihadist groups allied to Tuareg separatists occupying northern Mali.
Whole areas are still beyond the control of the Malian, French and UN forces working in the sub-Saharan region.
Deadly attacks and tense relations have marked the years since the military initative began.
Macron in Mali on Sunday
"The militarised and territorial terrorism, which occupied the northern half of Mali and threatened its southern half" has become "terrorism of opportunity and harassment" Le Drian said. "It has become dangerous again."