West Africa

When France ignored the warnings that preceded the putsch in Niger

International — Analysis

The July putsch in Niger has placed France, the former colonial ruler, in an impasse with regard to its use of the country as a base for operations against armed jihadist insurgents in the Sahel region. With around 1,500 troops stationed in Niger, which Paris turned to last year as its principal West African ally after being forced to withdraw its military from neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso, the outcome of the present standoff with the new junta is uncertain. Rémi Carayol reports on how the explosive situation follows a series of blunders in France’s strategy in West Africa, where its presence has become increasingly unpopular.

Four key lessons from the series of coups d’état in West Africa

Afrique(s) — Analysis

The seizure of power by Captain Ibrahim Traoré in Burkina Faso on September 30th brings to five the number of successful coups d’état that have taken place in West Africa in the last two years. One of the main reasons for these coups has been the failure of the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region, which has led to growing insecurity. Another factor is the increasing role of Russia there. Justine Brabant reports.

Why West African francophone states are losing sight of democracy


The military coup in Guinea earlier this month was the latest of eight over recent years in West Africa, and notably in countries that are former French colonies. Meanwhile, regimes in the region are introducing ever tighter restrictions on public freedoms, and the divide between populations and their governments is growing. African affairs correspondent Rémi Carayol reports.

France to scale down military operations in Sahel region

International — Link

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that France will reduce the size of its military mission in the West Africa region of the Sahel where it has been engaged since 2013 in operations against jihadist groups.

French and West African presidents launch Sahel armed force

France — Link

Move came as Emmanuel Macron vowed to 'eradicate' kidnappers of French citizen Sophie Pétronin, who has appeared in hostage video.

Counterterror force for West Africa stalled by US-France feud

International — Link

France wants to bolster efforts to fight terrorism in West Africa with a UN-backed force but Washington doesn’t want to get stuck with the bill.

The international drugs trade returns to post-war Mali

International — Report

Since the retreat of jihadist forces from northern Mali, and the winding down this year of the French military campaign that forced them out of the area, drugs trafficking has regained its lucrative path across the Sahel region, en route to Europe. Thomas Cantaloube reports from Mali on how the drugs trade has become a major cause of corruption in both the former French colony and the wider region of West Africa, where the transit of drugs is now joined by a dangerous and growing new phenomena, that of drug consumption.

Terror group 'threatens France over Mali'

International — Link

The Mourabitounes group, formed last August, says it will target the interests of 'France and her allies', according to a Mauritanian website.