France to deploy soldiers in Burkina Faso

Louise Dewast

France has announced the launch of a new joint military operation with Burkina Faso, a country suffering from nearly daily terror attacks.

The French and Burkinabe soldiers are to be deployed in the coming days at the border with Mali and Niger, where several militant groups have been operating.

Mali, Niger and, increasingly, Burkina Faso have been struggling to contain the spread of armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, especially around the border areas.

The situation has been particularly worrying in Burkina Faso where attacks have claimed over 500 lives and displaced nearly half a million people since 2015.

It is not the first time that the French have intervened in Burkina Faso, but this latest joint operation is a sign that their presence in the country is growing.

It is unclear how many soldiers are to be deployed and for how long, but France’s minister of defence says there is no mission creep even though an estimated 4,500 French soldiers have been deployed to the Sahel region since 2013.

Because there are concerns that the violence could spread to coastal countries, Burkina Faso’s government has been under pressure to step up their response.

One of the ways to do that is with international support – despite some reservations on foreign intervention. Last week, the US Air Force announced they had started intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations from their new base in Niger.

And next year, the UK is scheduled to send 250 personnel to Mali to support the UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

At the same time, an increasing number of observers believe that a military approach might not be enough to address the root causes of violence.

Source: bbc.co.uk

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

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