Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

France intends to reduce its military presence in West and Central Africa to only about 600 soldiers, according to President Emmanuel Macron’s plan, according to what three sources told Agence France-Presse.

This decision came in light of increasing anti-French sentiment in some of its former colonies.

According to a plan under discussion with African partners, France will significantly reduce the number of its forces previously deployed in Africa, and according to sources close to the French government, it will maintain only about 100 soldiers in Gabon in Central Africa, and a similar number in Senegal in West Africa, compared to the current 350 soldiers in each country. From both countries.

Paris intends to keep about 100 soldiers in Ivory Coast, compared to 600 soldiers currently, and about 300 soldiers in Chad in north-central Africa, compared to 1,000 soldiers currently.

The three sources said that the number of soldiers could be increased periodically based on the needs of local partners, and the French General Staff refused to comment on these statements.

Until two years ago, France had more than 5,000 soldiers in the Sahel region of Africa as part of Operation Barkhane to combat jihadist organizations, but Paris gradually withdrew its forces at the request of the military who came to power in Mali in 2021, in Burkina Faso in 2022, and Niger in 2023.

It is noteworthy that Chad, ruled by Mohamed Idriss Deby, the son of Idriss Deby Itno, who has been president for more than 30 years, is the last country in the Sahel region to host French soldiers.

In February, President Macron commissioned former Minister Jean-Marie Bukele to develop new visions for the French military presence in partner African countries, and Bukele is expected to present his conclusions in July.

The sources revealed that the French army intends to establish a Paris-based command dedicated to Africa this summer.

The Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces, General Thierry Burcard, said that the French army does not rule out “sharing” its bases with American or European partners, and instead of combat missions, French soldiers will mainly provide training and capabilities to partner countries upon their request.

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