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France further reduces its military presence in Africa


France is preparing to drastically reduce, in the coming months, the number of soldiers present on its various bases on the African continent, has been able to cross-check The world, confirming first elements of information published in the newsletter AfricaIntelligence, May 9. A reduction in airfoil which first concerns the base in Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast, then those in Dakar, in Senegal, and Libreville, in Gabon. Djibouti is the only grip to keep its format intact, with 1,500 soldiers.

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This withdrawal movement is intended to be the concrete translation of the speech that the Head of State, Emmanuel Macron, delivered on February 28, in Paris, in order to give the main orientations of his roadmap for Africa for his second term. . No quantified element had then been communicated. This movement will be “visible”had contented himself with evoking Mr. Macron, developing in passing the idea of ​​military bases “co-managed” with partner countries.

Three months later, the outline of the adjustments to come have been agreed. It is indeed several hundred French soldiers who must be withdrawn in total between Côte d’Ivoire, which today has 950, and Senegal and Gabon, where France permanently has around 350 soldiers on each of these two grips. The distribution between these three countries has not yet been officially decided, but this new wave of military withdrawal will be effective by the end of the year for some of these bases.

In line with the end of the “Barkhane” operation in the Sahel, in the fall of 2022, after ten years of presence in Mali, France thus wants to continue its operation to withdraw from Africa. While “Barkhane” had up to 5,000 soldiers, the French manpower of the defunct “Opex” is now divided between Chad (1,000 men) and Niger (1,500). It is from these countries that most of the French operations in the Sahel are now piloted, mainly for counter-terrorism.

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In Niger, the French army also makes a point of no longer appearing in the front line, even if this method had already been tried without success in Mali. “We are helping Niger to wage “its” war”insists an expert in the region, referring to the support provided to the Nigerien armed forces. An erasure approach that Paris now wants to apply with its traditional training component, in which soldiers from various French regiments have participated for years from bases in Senegal, Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire.

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