France to redeploy troops to Sahel

France to redeploy troops to Sahel

Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:24PM GMT
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/07/13/371161/france-to-redeploy-troops-to-sahel/

France says it is set to replace its military offensive in northern Mali by an operation spanning the wider Sahel region.

“The president wanted a reorganization of our troops in the (Sahel) zone,” Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a television interview on Sunday.

Le Drian noted that the operation is aimed at fighting with what he called extremism, adding that it would begin in the coming days.

The offensive is being implemented in partnership with Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in the Sahel-Sahara region, he said.

The minister further noted that some 3,000 French soldiers would take part in the operation, 1,000 of whom would remain in northern Mali and the rest would be sent to the four other countries.

Drones, helicopters, fighter jets, armored vehicles and transport planes would also be employed in the offensive.

France launched a war on Mali in January 2013 under the pretext of halting the advance of Tuareg fighters in the African country’s north.

The war has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in the northern areas of the country and has displaced thousands of people, who now live in deplorable conditions.

Some political analysts believe that Mali’s abundant natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind the French war.

In December 2013, France also invaded the Central African Republic after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution giving the African Union and Paris the go-ahead to send troops to the country.

Paris has claimed the aim of the mission is to create stability in the country in order to allow humanitarian aid to reach violence-hit areas.

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