Anti-French protests in West Africa spill over into Chad

International — Report

Anti-French sentiment is gaining ground across a number of West African countries, where the presence of the former colonial power, engaged in fighting armed jihadist insurgents across the Sahel, is challenged by growing Russian influence and popular anger against its history of support for strongman regimes. Protests against France’s military presence in the region have now spilled over into Chad, France’s key African ally, governed by a junta, where last month French nationals were targeted in the capital N’Djamena and petrol stations belonging to oil giant Total were ransacked. Rémi Carayol reports.

Mahamat Mahdi Ali: the Chad rebel leader targeted by France

International — Investigation

The veteran Chad leader Idriss Déby Itno, a close ally of France for many years, died in April, reportedly after being wounded on the battlefield fighting against an armed rebel group in the country. That group is the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), led by a man called Mahamat Mahdi Ali. The rebel leader has close links with France; he spent part of his life here and his family still lives in Reims, north east of Paris. He was also a member of the Socialist Party before he says he was “betrayed” by his former comrades when they were in government; he was subject to financial sanctions from the authorities in Paris over what he says are unfounded claims of links to terrorist groups. Some observers see the targeting of Mahamat Mahdi Ali as a favour by the authorities in Paris to the Déby regime, which has been a stalwart supporter of France's anti-terrorism strategy in the region. Rémi Carayol reports.

Former colonial power France feels loss after death of Chad's president

France — Link

Fench defence minister Florence Parly said Chad’s slain leader Idriss Déby had been an essential ally in the fight against terrorism in the Sahelregion of Africa.

France makes small troop increase to anti-jihadist ops in Sahel

International — Link

French President Emmanuel Macron has held a summit in Pau, south-west France, with leaders of five West African states engaged alongside France in fighting jihadist forces in the Sahel when he announced a further 220 French troops would be sent to the region to join their 4,500 colleagues already on the ground and the creation of a joint command structure with regional states.

France summons African leaders, threatening troop pullout

International — Link

Facing hostility in five former colonies over a stalled fight against extremists, President Macron has taken a harsh public stance but few expect him to follow through.

How France's narrow focus on a military solution in Mali has led to stalemate in region

International — Analysis

On Monday November 25th 13 members of the French military were killed when two helicopters crashed in Mali during France's ongoing military operations there. The grim news sparked debates back in France about the country's military involvement in the Sahel region of Africa. But as Mediapart's René Backmann writes, the legacy of France's colonial past and the remnants of its post-colonial approach to the continent known as 'Françafrique' suggest that President Emmanuel Macron's government will be unable to see that military combat against jihadism is not the only response that is needed to tackle the region's instability.

Chad's strongman leader is 'bulwark' for France against jihadists

France — Link

France's continued propping up of Chadian President Idriss Déby, a repressive autocrat, in whose country French troops are based for their counter-jihadist mission in the Sahel, appears to some like a return to the didgy old practices of the Françafrique system, opines The Economist. 

French hostage kidnapped in Chad 'located in Sudan'

International — Link

The Chadian security minister said the French civilian, who works for a mining company in Chad where he was kidnapped on Thursday, had been traced to Sudan where 'mixed Chadian and Sudanese forces' are looking for him.

France 'will have to pay US' for military aid in Africa

International — Link

US defence officials say they will ask for cost of helping France fight insurgents in Sahel region of Africa to be 'reimbursed'.

Why French intervention may only maintain the Central African Republic's woes

International — Analysis

The Central African Republic (CAR), where French troops are engaged in attempting to restore order amid inter-religious violence and which has long been the scene of political chaos, is governed more by its influential neighbouring states than any true national leadership, writes Mediapart international affairs correspondent Thomas Cantaloube. In this analysis of a complex and seemingly blocked situation for the country’s future, he concludes that the French military intervention is unlikely to remove - and more likely to maintain - the fundamental reasons for the turmoil in CAR.

France says top Islamist commander 'probably' killed in Mali

International — Link

Islamist chief Abdelhamid Abou Zeid is 'probably' dead, says French military, while the fate of his ally Mokhtar Belmokhtar is more uncertain.

Mali conflict: 'Many die' in Ifoghas mountain battle

International — Link

Chad military says 13 Chadian soldiers and 65 Islamist insurgents have been killed in heavy fighting in the remote part of northern Mali.