Since then, the jihadists have continued to carry out attacks on an almost daily basis, but they are also under pressure, losing a leader is key in a raid on French and fighting on the inside, say sources of security.
Wearing a mask on his arrival for his first trip outside Europe since the beginning of the outbreak of coronavirus, the French president Emmanuel Macron said the summit aimed to ” consolidate the gains “.
The allies have won, “true success in the last six months, neutralizing the leaders feared”, he said, praising the “growing power of the intervention of armed forces of the sahel.
Macron has held a summit in January to help obtain a public commitment more firm on the part of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger at a time of growing concern in France after losing 13 soldiers in a helicopter accident.
The insurgency began in the north of Mali in 2012, during a rebellion by separatist tuareg who was then overtaken by the jihadists.
Despite thousands of UN troops and France, the conflict spread to the centre of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, neighbors, causing quarrels between ethnic groups, and raising fears for the States further south.
Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed, hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes and the economies of the three countries, already among the poorest in the world, has been severely damaged.
Region “three borders”
Macron arrives for a round-trip a day from Europe for a summit that should only last a few hours, with representatives of the UN, the african Union and the european Union.
Discussions behind closed doors will be opened then to include the leaders of Germany, Spain and Italy, which will be included by video link.
This meeting marks the first time that allies of the Sahel come together physically since the beginning of the crisis of the sars coronavirus.
One of the priorities will be to evaluate the business of the “region of the three borders”, the mecca of jihadism, where converge the borders of Burkina, Niger and Mali.
France, which has added 500 soldiers to its mission in the Sahel after the summit in the French city of Pau, co-directs the campaign in this region, targeting a group affiliated to the islamic State led by Abu Walid al-Sahrawi.
Earlier this month, the French forces in northern Mali, aided by a drone in the u.s., have killed Abdelmalek Droukdel, the leader of al-Qaeda in the islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
And in a new development, the jihadists linked respectively to al-Qaida and the islamic State clashed on several occasions since the beginning of the year in Mali and Burkina Faso, after a long time apart, according to security experts.
Despite this, the problems in the Sahel are deep.
The local armed are ill-equipped and under-funded, advocacy groups of human rights argue that the troops are to blame for hundreds of killings and other abuse of civilians, and in some regions, the presence of the government has evaporated.
The loyal French ally, Chad, has not yet kept his promise to send troops in the region of the three borders, and an initiative well-publicized plans to create a joint force of the G5 Sahel, composed of 5,000 men, is evil.
In Mali, the anger against the insecurity has fuelled the discontent in the face of restrictions on the sars coronavirus and the outcome of the election, creating a political crisis for the president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Burkina faso, and Niger should organize presidential elections by the end of the year, which raises concerns as to the result.
Macron stressed the need “to do more in terms of the return of the State,” particularly “in Mali, in Burkina, in a context that is known to be very complex”.
In response to the lobbying of France, a group of special forces at the european Takuba, consisting of 310 men, is mobilizing to help troops in mali.
And on Monday, the security Council of United Nations voted unanimously to extend the mandate of the peacekeeping force peace 13, 000 soldiers of the MINUSMA in Mali for another year, until June 30, 2021.