“It is obvious that the revision of our general strategy in Africa calls into question all the components of our presence, including the special forces”, declared Mr. Lecornu in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche.
“Saber (the contingent of French special forces based in the Ouagadougou region, editor’s note) has had a key role in recent years in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel”, he underlines.
France, which still deploys some 3,000 soldiers in the Sahel, after having counted up to 5,500 men, has officially ended its anti-jihadist operation Barkhane, and has given itself six months to finalize its new strategy in Africa.
“We are working on an organization of the format of our existing military bases. They will have to keep certain capacities, to protect our nationals for example, but also to turn more towards the training of local armies”, explains Mr. Lecornu.
“It is no longer a question of fighting terrorism in place of our partners, but of doing it with them, by their side,” he says.
Friday, a demonstration against the presence of France in Burkina Faso, undermined by jihadist violence, targeted the French embassy in Ouagadougou and the military base of Kamboisin, on the outskirts of the capital, where a contingent of special forces is stationed. Saber force.
Paris, which has already left Mali with which it has execrable relations, nevertheless wishes to maintain a military presence in the Sahel, particularly in Niger. “Its destabilization would have a terrible impact,” warns Mr. Lecornu.
“Other countries are also asking us for support in the fight against terrorism. For this work to be established over the long term, the question of the training of officers and non-commissioned officers of African armies will be central”, explains- he.
President Emmanuel Macron gave himself six months in November to finalize France’s new strategy in Africa.