French journalist Olivier Dubois, 48, who was kidnapped in northern Mali by jihadists in April 2021, and American aid worker Jeffery Woodke, 62, who was abducted in Niger in October 2016, were both released on Monday, when they appeared at a press conference in Niger's capital, Niamey.
France classified all of Niger except the capital Niamey as red under its colour-coded security advice after six young French aid workers were among eight killed in a suspected jihadist raid on August 9th.
Jean Castex said it was likely the 'same hatred, the same cowardice, the same inhumanity that was at work in Niger and at the Bataclan', a reference to the Paris music venue attacked in 2015 by terrorists.
Six French tourists, along with their driver and guide, are reported to have been shot dead by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles in a suspected terrorist attack during a safari in Niger, which lies in a region of West Africa where Boko Haram and groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State operate.
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.
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.
In the wake of footage of sub-Saharan migrants captured in Libya being sold as slaves, France has pledged to offer asylum to 25 Eritreans, Ethiopians and Sudanese, including 15 women and four children, who were taken to Niger under UN protection from detention in the North African country.
Mediapart is publishing four documents which prove that from 2005 to 2009 Nicolas Sarkozy and his aides tried to extricate Libyan spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi from his legal problems in France where he had been convicted for his involvement in the bombing of a passenger plane over Africa. The same Senussi is suspected of having sent five million euros in Libyan cash to Sarkozy and his chief of staff Claude Guéant before the 2007 presidential election - as revealed by the man who says he physically carried the money, arms dealer Ziad Takieddine. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.