ARMY Emmanuel Macron has given himself six months to finalize France's new strategy in Africa
A demonstration against France, in Ouagadougou on October 4, 2022. — Kilaye Bationo/AP/SIPA
The demonstrations on Friday at; and around Ouagadougou against the French presence will they have an impact on the new military strategy of France in the Sahel? The Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu did not rule out a departure of the French special forces based in Burkina Faso, while Paris puts an end to its anti-jihadist operation Barkhane.
“It is obvious that the review of our general strategy in Africa questions all the components of our presence, including the special forces,” Sébastien Lecornu in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche. “Sabre (the French special forces contingent based in the Ouagadougou region) has had a key role in this. over the past few years in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel,” he underlines.
Going “more towards training local armies”
France, which still deploys some 3,000 soldiers in the Sahel, after having counted up to 5,500 men, officially ended its anti-jihadist operation Barkhane, and has given itself six months to finalize its new strategy in Africa. “We are working to an organization in the format of our existing military bases. They will have to keep certain capacities, to protect our nationals for example, but also to turn more towards the training of local armies”, explains the minister. “It is no longer a question of fighting terrorism 'in place' of our partners, but of doing it with them, “ their side”.
Paris, which has already left Mali with which it maintains execrable relations, nevertheless wishes to maintain a military presence in the Sahel, particularly in Niger. “Its destabilization would have a terrible impact,” warns Sébastien Lecornu. “Other countries are also asking us for support in the fight against terrorism. For this work to take hold over time, the question of the training of officers and non-commissioned officers of African armies will be central,” he finally explains.