official end of the Takuba working group, France announces

Takuba in Mali, it’s over. This was confirmed by the French General Staff on Friday 1 July. This working group was launched in March 2020, as part of the Barkhane control operation in Mali. It brought together 800 special forces from ten European countries including France, Belgium, Italy and Estonia. Takuba’s last European soldiers returned home on Thursday, June 30. According to the staff, this decision is part of the reorganization of the French military system in the Sahel and the end of Operation Barkhane in Mali.

Although France has made great efforts to maintain the idea of ​​a European engagement in the Sahel, the Takuba Working Group as it has been set up can no longer function, once Operation Barkhane leaves Mali.

General Pascal Ianni is the spokesman for the French General Staff. “The Takuba force was intended to act in Mali together with the Malian armed forces, then independently against armed terrorist groups in the area around the three borders. Takuba responded to an extremely specific need; that in Mali in late 2019 and early 2020, at a time when Fama faced many attacks from the Islamic State in Greater Sahara, today the conditions are different, it is important that European countries and European armies engage in the fight against terrorist groups with France, together with other actors to help the countries of the region according to the needs they express.

What kind of European involvement in the region? At present, it is no longer a matter of having a force with European soldiers deployed together on the ground in a Saheland country. For two main reasons, which are mainly political: sending troops abroad requires a vote by the parliaments of each European country. A complex and lengthy procedure. On the other hand, no Sahelland has so far requested such a system. According to the French General Staff, discussions are still under way with Niger and the Gulf countries on “bilateral partnerships”.

As part of the re-articulation of @BARKHANE_OP’s cessation of operations for TF TAKUBA. A strategic success: the Europeans together against the GAT in the Sahel. A tactical success: +75 operations to prevent the creation of a territorial caliphate in the area of ​​the three borders. pic.twitter.com/EPfTs86PDo

– French Army – Military Operations (@EtatMajorFR) July 1, 2022 Niger had already been mentioned as a base for Takuba. In any case, statements had been made by President Mohamed Bazoum who said he was open to European cooperation to secure his border with Mali. The National Assembly also voted in February on a text preparing for the reception of new foreign forces on Nigerian territory.

But Niamey has always demanded an adjustment to his needs. According to a source close to the Ministry of Defense, discussions are underway with European partners. In May, the German Chancellor went to Niamey, a few weeks after his defense minister.

As a reminder, Operation Barkhane remains in Niger. It is especially in Niamey that the French air base is located from where the plane and drones operating in the Sahel depart.

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