About Operation Barkhane
- Operation Barkhane is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation started on August 1, 2014 which is led by the French military against Islamist groups in Africa’s Sahel region.
- It consists of a roughly 5,000-strong French force, which is permanently headquartered in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
- The operation is led in cooperation with five countries, all former French colonies, that span the Sahel: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
- These countries are collectively referred to as the “G5 Sahel”.The operation is named after a crescent-shaped dune in the Sahara desert.
- The French military initially intervened in Mali in early 2013 as part of Operation Serval which successfully regained the northern half of the country from Islamist groups.
- Operation Barkhane is intended to act as a follow up to this success and has expanded the French military’s operations over a vast area of the Sahel region.
- The operation has the stated aim of helping these countries’ governments to maintain control of their territory while also preventing the region from becoming a safe haven for Islamist terrorist groups planning to attack France and Europe.
G5 Sahel or G5S
- Is an institutional framework for coordination of regional cooperation in development policies and security matters in west Africa.
- It was formed on 16 February 2014 in Nouakchott, Mauritania,at a summit of five Sahel countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.
- It adopted a convention of establishment on 19 December 2014, and is permanently seated in Mauritania. The coordination is organised on different levels.
- The military aspect is coordinated by the respective countries’ Chiefs of Staff.
- The purpose of G5 Sahel is to strengthen the bond between economic development and security, and together battle the threat of jihadist organizations operating in the region (AQIM, MUJWA, Al-Mourabitoun, Boko Haram).