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Macron announces official end of military operation in the Sahel

France's President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers a speech on defence strategy to present the La Revue nationale strategique (RNS), a new military programming law (2024-2030), on the amphibious helicopter carrier Dixmude docked in the French Navy base of Toulon, Southern France on Nov 9, 2022. (ERIC GAILLARD / POOL / AFP)

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday the official end of the French military operation Barkhane in the Sahel region in Africa.

In February this year, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France's withdrawal of troops from Mali would take four to six months

"We do not intend to engage without a time limit," Macron said in Toulon in the south of France.

However, he added that military support from France to the African states in the Sahel region will continue in another form.

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Since 2014, France has deployed around 5,100 troops to the G5 Sahel countries — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger — under operation Barkhane. The goal was to help the G5 maintain control of their territories, and prevent the region from becoming a haven for Islamist groups.

France will hold discussions with its African partners on the format of its military support and on the current missions of French military bases in the Sahel and West Africa.

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In February this year, Macron announced that France's withdrawal of troops from Mali would take four to six months. Between 2,500 and 3,000 French soldiers were in the African country.

He emphasized the important roles played by France and by Europe in the fight against terrorism in Africa. France "will continue this fight with neighboring countries of the Sahel region such as the Gulf of Guinea and Niger," he said.