France says ready to keep troops in West Africa for as long as needed

Source: Reuters

France appeared on Wednesday to accept that it would need to keep thousands of troops in Africa’s Sahel region for an indefinite period given the ongoing instability and preponderance of Islamist militants.

The region, a politically fragile area whose remote desert spaces spanning from Mauritania in the west to Sudan in the east host a medley of jihadist groups, is seen as vulnerable to further attacks after strikes on soft targets in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast earlier this year.

That has been brought further to light after a spike in violence in northern Mali, where France intervened three years ago to drive out al Qaeda-linked militants who hijacked a rebellion in 2012 by ethnic Tuaregs and attempted to take control of the central government in Bamako.

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