Instead of protecting the population, the French military is involved in the killing of civilians in Mali as well as in the Sahel region in general, to the dismay of people and observers who express concern. Since 2014, French military forces have been deployed in Mali under the auspices of Operation Barkhane to fight armed groups in the Sahel. There are 5,100 French troops in the region.
But their presence is not welcomed by all Malians, especially after the recent killings of several civilians in airstrikes by Barkhane forces. In this operation, about 100 civilians were killed. In September last year, a civilian in Gao was killed by a French soldier, who was called “unintentional” by the French army. On October 23, 2017, 11 Malian soldiers captured by a terrorist group lost their lives during a terrorist operation led by the Barkhane forces.
On January 6, 2021, the forces were accused of having arrested and interrogated an official from the Coordination of Movements in Azawad (CMA), which brings together the armed movements in northern Mali. The French military also searched its family home in Menaka, a northern region of Mali.
In a statement shared with the Anadolu Agency (AA), the CMA indicated that its official was arrested during the night of January 3-4, 2021.
“The French forces surrounded the home of Mr Halatassane Ag Rhissa, a notable member of the municipality’s temporary authority in Tidermene,” the note said.
According to the CMA, this act is a “fifth humiliation directed at personalities that are respected by all.” The group also called for Halatassane to be released and “morally repaired” while urging the Malian international forces “to show more restraint and discernment so as not to misidentify enemies and targets.”
In July 2020, author Guillaume Davranche listed in an article published on the website A l’encontre five reasons for France to leave the Sahel – that of an endless war there, delaying a political solution, exacerbating the situation and strengthening a criminal system. and its intervention is “imperialist.”
Since the days of colonization, French military aid has always been controversial in Africa. Although France is sometimes denied facts, it has been involved in genocides in Africa – such as the Rwandan genocides and Bamilekes in Cameroon. All this happened under the auspices of a military operation, such as the one carried out in the Sahel. The examples declared are legion.
An analysis published in June in the journal Alternative Libertarian also reported that Barkhane’s murderous routine drives up a desire for revenge. And this desire will develop with increasing victims of “security” because in December 2019, Barkhane armed its drones with missiles. The authors of the analysis also warned that an anti-colonial struggle against the Crusaders “could motivate young people to join the terrorist ranks.”
Thus, for him, “France presents itself as a savior” and yet this country does not save the population and does not reduce violence. It only saves the uranium mines and their status as a suzerain state against vassalized governments. “He added that this military presence in West Africa” sometimes under the iron rule of the demonized dictators, removes the possibility of peace talks and, overall, prolongs and exacerbates an endless war. “
Like him, several observers do not appreciate the presence of such forces in Mali and other Sahel countries because it “does not contribute to political and economic stability,” Justice Simango, a political analyst, told AA. For Cisse Diop, a security expert, the French army is trying to protect its own interests under the pretext of helping people.
The country’s defense minister said on Monday that France will reconsider its military strategy in the Sahel region and is likely to reduce the number of troops deployed.
“We will probably need to adjust this unit: a reinforcement by definition is temporary,” Florence Parly told Le Parisien daily in an interview in response to a question about the additional 600 troops deployed to reinforce the 4,500 strong Barkhane troops. last year. A decision will be taken at the next joint summit between France and the G-5 Sahel, the West African regional terrorist force, which includes Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. The summit will be held in February in N’djamena, the capital of Chad, by French President Emmanuel Macron and army chiefs, she said.
According to many military sources, France is preparing to withdraw hundreds of troops from its current 5,100-strong contingent. The move would bring it back to the level it was before the increase in activity in January last year, when increased attacks led to a boost in the presence of French troops.
In addition to Barkhane, France is a major stakeholder in the Takuba Task Force, which was launched this year in collaboration with European allies and consists of European special forces. It will complement actions taken during Operation Barkhane for the benefit of the Malian armed forces. The Takuba Task Force is a European military working group that will advise, assist and monitor Malia’s armed forces in coordination with G5-Sahel partners and other international actors in the field.
Many armed groups are active in the Sahel zone, which stretches from the Atlantic coast south of the Sahara to the Red Sea, and some of the groups have promised to support Daesh and al-Qaeda. Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria in particular have been hit by attacks in recent months.