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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Central Africa: France to Cut back Army Presence in West and Central Africa

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France is planning to scale back its navy presence in West and Central Africa to round 600 troops in step with President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to restrict the French navy footprint within the area.

In keeping with a plan at the moment beneath dialogue with African companions, France is planning to drastically cut back its so-called “pre-positioned” forces in Africa, three sources instructed French information company AFP.

The shift started in February 2023, when French President Emmanuel Macron introduced a “noticeable discount” of French troop presence in Africa, at a time when anti-French sentiment was working excessive in some former colonies.

In keeping with two sources near the federal government and a navy supply, who all requested to not be named, France will preserve solely round 100 troops in Gabon in Central Africa, down from 350 at present and round 100 in Senegal, in West Africa, down from 350.

Paris plans to maintain round 100 troops in Côte d’Ivoire on the southern coast of West Africa down from 600 troops at present, and round 300 personnel in Chad in north-central Africa, down from 1,000 now.

The decreased presence might be periodically expanded primarily based on the wants of native companions, the three sources stated.

Contacted by AFP, the French Normal Employees declined to remark.

Gradual retreat

Till two years in the past, along with round 1,600 forces pre-deployed in West Africa and Gabon, France had over 5,000 troops within the Sahel area of Africa as a part of the Barkhane anti-jihadist operation.

However it has been steadily pushed out by the juntas that got here to energy in Mali in 2021, in Burkina Faso in 2022 and Niger in 2023.

The three international locations have fashioned an alliance and concluded safety agreements with Russia, which has been in search of to develop its footprint on the continent.

Landlocked Chad is dominated by Mahamat Idriss Deby, the son of Idriss Deby Itno (who was president for over 30 years), and is now the final Sahel nation to host French troopers.

Chad is surrounded by the Central African Republic, Sudan, Libya and Niger that host Russian paramilitary forces ensuing from the reorganisation of the Wagner group whose founder Yevgeny Prigozhin died in a mysterious airplane crash final August.

New technique

In February, Macron tasked former minister Jean-Marie Bockel with figuring out the brand new modalities of the French navy presence with African companions.