In the spotlight: the French army leaves Ménaka

Published on : 14/06/2022 – 10:34

The French soldiers of Operation Barkhane handed over the keys to their camp on June 13 to their Malian counterparts. A departure which is part of the French disengagement in Mali. This is the penultimate step before the transfer of the Gao base scheduled for the end of the summer. A departure that comes as terrorist attacks continue, particularly in the border regions of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. If the Malian press applauds this departure, like the junta in power, the Burkinabé and Nigerien newspapers are worried…

A hole…

« It kills in the Sahel and Barkhane packs up in Mali! “, deplores thus WakatSéra. « As African countries hit by terrorism have a greater need to join forces based on strong and effective state-to-state partnerships with the powers of the north, the Malian junta decides to withdraw from the G5 Sahel and forces Barkhane to disarticulate in Mali to rearticulate elsewhere. Just yesterday, points out the Burkinabé site, the French army (therefore) officially handed over to the Armed Forces of Mali the keys to the Ménaka military base, in the northeast of the country. However, the French force, doomed to shame, is the one whose elements, in collaboration with the local armies, were scarecrows for the terrorists, in particular those who infest the Three Borders area. One more time, WakatSera exclaims, we can only call for the pooling of forces and strategies, as desired (last Thursday) by the Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum, in the now famous “Name Call” to form a common front against the terrorist hydra. »

Mohamed Bazoum’s bet

Precisely, asks Young Africa : « Turkish drones, European formations, French troops… Will Mohamed Bazoum manage to win the bet of the internationalization of the Sahelian conflict? (…) Mohamed Bazoum assumes the challenge of presenting Niger as the “last bastion” democracy in the three-border zone, by being very critical of a powerless Burkina Faso and a Mali infiltrated by Wagner’s Russians. On the opposition side, some do not hesitate to describe the Nigerien head of state as “vassal of the French”, especially on social media where anti-Western sentiment is on the rise ».

Therefore, point Young Africa« the Nigerien president and those close to him are working to keep the bomb of anti-French sentiment defused. “This is partly why we want to favor deployment outside Niamey, in small bases”, explains a Nigerian officer. (…) Largely dependent on French and American technologies, the Nigerien head of state hopes that the new Turkish drones (which he has just received) will give him some autonomy. And he knows that he must have as many cards as possible in the war that opposes him to the Islamic State, in order to strike him militarily or to force him into a dialogue that has been discreetly started in recent months. »

Democratic chaos aggravates the risk of a food crisis…

Security crisis in the Sahel, therefore, but also the risk of a food crisis… This is underlined by The World Africa : « destruction of arable land, increase in demand, degraded climatic conditions… Not to mention the chaos, cyclical, linked to the paralysis of the Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea from which 95% of the cereals of this second largest producer in the world left. (…) It is difficult for the Sahelian states, among the poorest on the planet, to absorb the shocks when the majority of the population lives from day to day. But for Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad there is another difficulty, relief Le Monde Afrique: that of the lack of legitimacy of the military powers installed by coups d’état, to manage this already tense social situation, which the war in Ukraine places on the brink of rupture. (…) While the military swear they are there only to save the nation, it is difficult to discern anything in their plans for the future other than the desire to keep what they have seized, still esteem The World Africa. (…) The juntas are probably not the best equipped to manage this unprecedented crisis for several decades in Africa. »

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