Meeting of the G5 Sahel heads of state to convene in Chad

Representatives of the G5 Sahel countries—Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger—and France will begin a two-day summit today in

G5 Sahel

Photo: Guillaume Horcajuelo/Reuters

Representatives of the G5 Sahel countries—Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger—and France will begin a two-day summit today in the Chadian capital N’Djamena.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to attend and discuss the progress made by French-Sahel coalition forces against the ongoing Islamist insurgency in the region. A recent uptick in French casualties has soured public support for ongoing military activities in the Sahel, prompting Macron to consider a withdrawal of the 5,100 troops stationed in the region.

Despite rumours, Macron is unlikely to announce an immediate troop reduction during this summit. Sahel leaders have warned of disastrous consequences if France withdraws; Sahel coalition forces lack the training and equipment to continue the conflict alone. Instead, expect Macron to outline a gradual withdrawal timeline contingent on increased military support from France’s allies in the Takuba Task Force, a loose coalition of European nations aiding the Sahel governments in combatting extremism.

Of these, Greece and Estonia are the most likely to contribute troops, both having recently volunteered to send special forces to the region. With major combat operations ongoing, France’s withdrawal will likely depend on a significant reduction in Islamist attacks.

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