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France, US' Withdrawal From Sahel Makes Region Less Safe, AFRICOM Chief Claims

CC BY 2.0 / Flickr / U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa / Natural Fire 10 Opens, U.S. Army Africa, Kitgum, Uganda 091016
Natural Fire 10 Opens, U.S. Army Africa, Kitgum, Uganda 091016 - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 27.06.2024
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The withdrawal of French and US troops from the Sahel has made the region less safe and more prone to terrorist threats, the commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), Gen. Michael Langley, said on Thursday, adding that terrorist groups are now in a position to affect the West African coastal regions.
"I would say the Sahel has become less safe [with the withdrawal of the French and US troops from the Sahel region]. One, because of the expanded numbers across a number of factions … whether we're talking about JNIM* [Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin], or ISIS-Sahel [aka Daesh terrorist group], or ISIS-West Africa*, Boko Haram* is still there. So, it very, very much has increased across the region and now is at the cusp of affecting coastal West Africa," Langley told reporters at a briefing after the 2024 African Chiefs of Defense Conference in Botswana.
In 2022, the French military, which had been present in the Sahel region since 2014 as part of the anti-terrorism operation Barkhane, was forced to leave Mali. In November 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the end of Operation Barkhane in the Sahara-Sahel region. At the end of 2022, French troops also left Niger after the country's coup-installed authorities severed ties with Paris.
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In March 2023, the authorities of Burkina Faso announced the denunciation of the military assistance treaty with France, signed over 60 years ago. The Foreign Ministry of Burkina Faso also notified the French side that the French military must leave the country within a month.
Furthermore, Niger declared in March this year that its military cooperation with the US was coming to an end. Military spokesman Col. Amadou Abdramane stated that the United States was objecting to Niger's choice of allies.
In a joint statement later, the US and Niger declared that American troops would withdraw from the country "no later" than September 15. The statement noted that the United States and the other country had "reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of US forces, which has already begun."
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown speaks at the 156th National Memorial Day Observance in the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 27, 2024. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 25.06.2024
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* Terrorist organizations banned in Russia and many other states