Thursday, 12 March 2015

France Set To Boost Its Counter-Insurgency Force Against Boko Haram

In a move aimed at completely annihilating the terror group, Boko Haram, France has committed to increasing its West African counter-insurgency force to support regional forces fighting Boko Haram, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said yesterday.

France has headquartered its more than 3,000-strong Sahel counter-insurgency force, Barkhane, in the Chadian capital N'Djamena, some 50 km (30 miles) from the Nigerian border.

Until now, those troops have largely been tasked with tracking al Qaeda-linked militants spanning the Sahara from Mauritania in the west and southern Libya in the east.

“We will slightly increase the numbers on Barkhane," Le Drian told reporters without giving specific details.
He said the troops would provide support to forces fighting around Lake Chad, where Boko Haram has in recent months increasingly threatened regional countries, according to Reuters.

Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Benin have mobilised forces this year to help Nigeria defeat Boko Haram after it seized territory and staged cross-border attacks.
“We do not intend to take part in the fighting,” Le Drian said.

Paris has, however, already sent about 40 military advisers to Niger’s southern border with Nigeria to help coordinate military action by the regional powers fighting Boko Haram and has been operating reconnaissance missions near the Nigerian border and sharing intelligence.

It is expected to reduce its 2,000 strong contingent in Central African Republic (CAR) to deploy more to Barkhane, defence and military sources have said.

France, which has the UN Security Council presidency in March, is also pushing for a resolution by early April that would back a 10,000-strong African force to fight Boko Haram, providing it crucial FINANCING to carry out operations.

ThisDay Newspaper

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