France revises counter-terrorism strategy in Africa
This Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, file photo shows French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian talking with French soldiers from Operation Sangaris, at Mpoko Camp in Bangui, Central African Republic. AP PhotoLaunched in January 2013, Operation Serval forced jihadists out of the northern part of the country. But the Islamic extremists subsequently spread out across the Sahel region, finding refuge particularly in southern Libya.
To combat the jihadists, France has decided to re-organise its military bases in the region.
On a visit to the US last week, Le Drian explained the aim of the French plan. “We want to be more reactive, more available and have one commander for the force,” he said. “This is a long-term mission. It will cover the whole region with several bases. In all, there will be 3,000 soldiers in that zone permanently.”
The soldiers are to be positioned in Gao (Mali), Niamey (Niger) and Jamena (Chad), with the logistical base in Ivory Coast’s Port of Abidjan and special forces in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).
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