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Updated Feb 5, 2020

France is set to deploy six hundred additional troops to the Sahel to join the fight against Islamist jihadists, which have been attacking civilians and local security forces, killing people and raiding weapons caches. The troops will mainly be operating in the border region of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, an area with minimal government influence that has become a no-man’s land terrorized by militias on motorbikes and trucks that can launch unexpected and devastating attacks.

Two hundred and twenty troops were deployed in January after French president Emmanuel Macron met with the heads of state of the G5 Sahel, a military alliance between Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Mali, and Burkina Faso. This was on top of the 4,500 French troops operating in the region as part of the anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane. The meeting between France and the G5 Sahel also called upon increased support from other European countries. French foreign minister Florence Parly said the Czech Republic will be sending sixty troops as part of a unit combining special-forces soldiers from various European nations, and that she expects more announcements soon.

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