EU to combat illegal migration and terrorism in the Sahel

TMP – 18/06/2017
The European Union has pledged €50 million to fight terrorism, illegal immigration and trafficking networks in West Africa’s Sahel region.

The funds will be used to create a combined African military force made up of troops from Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Niger, countries known as the Sahel G-5.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who announced the pledge in the Malian capital Bamako, said: “Stability and development of the Sahel region is crucial not only for Africa but also for Europe.”

“This contribution will arrive very quickly and I hope it will set out the right path to other partners of the Sahel G-5,” she added.

In March, members of the Sahel G-5 approved a plan for5,000 troops. but the latest announcement fromleaders is that there will be 10,000 boots on the ground.

“The heads of state of the Sahel G-5, who met in Riyadh just a few weeks ago, decided to bring the number from 5,000 men to 10,000 men. This really shows their engagement because this is a vast area,” Mali’s foreign minister, Abdoulaye Diop said.

According to a report from Deutsche Welle, the joint force is expected to become operational at the end of this year and will reinforce the French and UN peacekeeping troops already stationed in the region.

Previously, borders within the Sahel regionhave not been well-controlled, leaving room for terrorism, trafficking networks and migrant smuggling to flourish.

“. The 50 million euros may be a beginning for better coordination between the G-5 countries. It is important not to leave gaps between the territories, ” the head of SOS Sahel, an NGO working on poverty and food insecurity in the region, said.