The African Union said during a joint AU–EU summit that it intends to deploy 3,000 additional troops to the Sahel to combat the persistent jihadist terrorism threat in the region, which has killed more than 4,000 civilians in 2019 in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The deployment is expected to work alongside the existing G5 Sahel—a military alliance comprised of 5,000 troops from Chad, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali—and the Economic Community of West African States.
Why It Matters
A decision by the African Union to deploy several thousand more troops shows a willingness to commit to the AU’s 2020 theme of ending conflicts throughout Africa. It also comes amid a high probability that the United States will pull out a significant portion of its troops from Africa, leaving it up to regional partners and European militaries to beat the brunt of the costs to deploy fighting forces.
Who Will Fund This Deployment?
Several concerns were raised shortly after news of the decision emerged during the course of deliberations between AU and EU officials attending the summit; there has been no official announcement. Chief among them is that the declaration does not provide a clear timetable, which countries will furnish troops, and how the fighting force will be funded. Insufficient funding has been a persistent concern with the G5 Sahel as well. Other analysts go a step further and say that the deployment of additional troops is not what is needed to resolve the conflict, but rather an engaged political strategy to deal with the factors encouraging enlistment with terrorist groups and potential dialogue with jihadist leaders.