President Hollande announces new French forces in Africa
Following a three day visit of West African countries, President François Hollande has announced a new French military force will be deployed under the codename Operation Barkhane in order to combat Islamist groups operating across the Sahel.
The French already have peacekeepers in Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR) but this new force will cover the countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger and will comprise 3000 troops. The 2000 troops in Central African Republic will remain in their peacekeeping role.
Increasingly Islamist groups linked to Al Qaeda are operating across North Africa and sub-Saharan countries with impunity and with no regard to national borders. It appears that this force will attempt to tackle this problem.
President Hollande also urged the African countries to apply their armed forces to this problem, saying that it was a problem for all these countries as well as a wider threat to the international community.
The full speech as delivered at the French military base Kossei in Ndjamena and as published on the French Presidential website can be found here.