Paris : On the backdrop of dramatic changes taking place in the continent, the French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve appealed to its army to get ready for a long-duration war against African terrorists. PM Cazeneuve during his first overseas tour, visited Africa and took an overview of the French army contingent in the “Sahel region” of Africa. This appeal made by the Prime Minister is an indication that France will continue to base its army in this region.
PM Cazeneuve highlighted that a lot of dramatic events are being witnessed in Africa’s Sahel region. He also reiterated that the French army should get ready to wage a long war against terrorism in Africa and that the French government will provide the necessary financial aid.He visited the Chad region in Africa on his first foreign trip and met with the Prime Minister of Chad along with various French army contingents.
Africa’s “Sahel region” region includes countries like Chad, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. It has been observed that in recent years, the terrorist organizations have increased both their coverage and activities in these regions. Terrorist attacks like the one which took place in Mali’s capital last November, and also another one in January 2016 at Burkina Faso are some of the examples.
Within “Sahel” countries, terrorist groups like “Al-Qaeda”, “Mujao”, “Ansar-Al-Dine” and “Boko Haram” are active. “Al-Qaeda” is said to be responsible for the terror attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso. Back in 2012, in Mali, the Tuareg rebel groups had tried to expel the government. But their plan was unsuccessful and was thwarted by the French army. Taking into consideration the increase in the terrorist activities in these regions, the French army in 2014 had undertaken a comprehensive military campaign.
Under this comprehensive military campaign called “Operation Barkhane”, four thousand soldiers were posted in the Sahel region. A thousand of them are placed at Mali while another 1200 were positioned at Chad. Apart from this, soldiers are also stationed at Niger, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. Fighter planes, helicopters and drones too have been deployed here and in the near future, they will be used for more expansive purpose. The same has been indicated by the French Prime Minister in his address, during his visit to Africa.
The terror attacks occurring in Europe and the United States, has seen an increase in number of terrorists coming from the African continent. Hence under these circumstances, the appeal of “long war” made by French PM holds imperative.