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Operation Barkhane: French War In Africa's Sahel - Foreign Affairs - Nairaland

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Operation Barkhane: French War In Africa's Sahel by lionel4power(m): 11:56am On Feb 16, 2018
When the Sahel is threatened, Europe and Frances are threatened”, François Hollande

In 2014, French President François Hollande announced that French troops would be committed to combating violent Islamist militants in Africa indefinitely, to secure the Sahel region to prevent trans-border passage of jihadist group.

The intervention effort code-named
'Operation Barkhane ' after a crescent-shaped dune in the Sahara desert. Operation Barkhane would succeed
Operation Serval and Operation Epervier - French military mission in Mali and Chad respectively assuming total control of both missions’ resources while operating across all G5 Sahel borders.

Following the overthrow of former Libyan ruler Mohammad Ghadafi by NATO forces and local fighters in 2011, various arms and weapons looted from the military's stockpiles have found its way through the porous Sahara desert down south fueling internal crises and regional conflicts.

Consequently, in recent years, small arms sales in the black market have flourished abundantly in the Sahel region fueling the growth of radical Islamic networks, like Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram, Al Shaabab and Al Qaeda, among others.

Islamist extremism has been on a salient increase since the turnoff the century, the Sahel region is one of the harshest environment for human survival and sustainment coupled with the usual lackadaisical attitude of African leaders to tackle the massive poverty and hardship witnessed in the area.

Niger Republic
The Republic of Niger and Chad both located on the edge of the Sahara are one of the poorest countries on Earth. In Niger alone, 45% of the citizens live below the international poverty line. The country has a literacy rate of just 19.1%. Furthermore, worsening climatic conditions have increased draughts that have affected agriculture yields in the country which depends largely on its agricultural exports. In Niger, agriculture makeup for 37% of its annual GDP. The last major drought which affected the country in 2010 is still being felt.

Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Chad has continually struggled to get on its feet despite being an oil-producing nation. Corruption, Mismanagement of national funds, post-colonial interference and harsh climate has dealt severely with the country. Chad has remained one of the poorest country on Earth till date.

More than Chad’s population live in abject poverty. The harsh reality and daily life is a reminder that poor planning, week implementation and mismanagement destroys a country faster than anything else.

This disturbing declining economic posture, low literacy level and frustration at the government inability to show any semblance of proficiency has led to this region being a fertile ground for recruiting disenfranchised populace into terror organisations.
Known by defense pundits as ‘ AN ARC OF INSTABILITY’ this is a large expanse of area plagued by violent extremism in the Sahel, terror groups such as Boko Haram, Al Qaeda continually challenge the peace and stability of the region. Failed government, corruption, foreign interference and spillover from the crises in Libya has spurred a complex web of transnational terror network. In 2012, al Qaeda linked group took control of towns and territories in Northern Mali bringing the Sahel into international limelight.

After years of intense battle to dislodge the terrorists they began moving southwards, prompting the French military to swing into action. The French-led Operation Serval pushed the extremist back.

 Operation Barkhane Force Composition
»Personnel: 4,500+
» Six fighter jets (Rafale, Dassault Mirage 2000, Mirage F1)
» 200 armored vehicles (VABs, VBL, ERC 90 Sagaie)
 »20 helicopters (Gazelle LAH, SA 330 Puma and Cougar transport helicopter)
» Ten transport aircrafts
» Three Harfangs drones

» Headquarter and Air assets are based in N’Djamena
» A regional base in Mali housing 1000+ men
» A Special force base in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
» An intelligence and Drone base in Niamey, Niger republic. (300+ men)

Read entire article here »»

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