France re-establishes relations with African Sahel countries
The termed “operation of opportunity” offensive with the assistance of French military forces took place Friday at dusk in the region of Boulikessi, Mali, near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger, where government troops struggle to contain Islamist insurgency.
French Defence Minister Florence Parly, visited Bamako Monday in light of the success.
The French minister shared a few words in Bamako, “I would like to reveal an operation of great importance which was carried out on 30 October in Mali by the Barkhane force and which made it possible to neutralise more than 50 jihadists, the equivalent of a katiba (the equivalent of a battalion), by also confiscating weapons and equipment. While Mali’s transitional authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to the fight against terrorism, this tactical success shows once again that terrorist groups cannot act with impunity in the face of our forces.”
President of Niger Republic Mahamadou Issoufou had also hosted Parly who is on a tour of northern Africa’s Sahel countries as France has 5,100 soldiers deployed in the region, in the combat against jihadist insurgency.
The French minister outlined other French-assisted operations to come in the region, “The Takuba Force (European military task force) began its first operations since a large-scale operation had taken place in October and for the first time the Takuba Force was associated, it took full part in this operation.”
Four terrorists were captured and weapons and equipment seized during this operation which targeted a local supposedly Al Qaeda affiliated Islamist group.
This was the first visit to Mali by the French Defence Minister to establish relations with the new transitional government since the coup d’etat in August that ousted now ex-president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.