Chad to Reduce Troops Fighting Sahel Militants by Half

Members of the security forces drive along the market following the battlefield death of President Idriss Deby in N’Djamena, Chad April 26, 2021. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Chad has announced it will reduce the number of its troops deployed to the G5 Sahel anti-terrorist force in the “three border zone,” which includes Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, to half.

The redeployment involves some 600 of the 1,200 Chadian soldiers deployed in the region in February as part of the G5 Sahel Joint Force which has been working since 2017 to cooperate in this fight.

G5 Sahel Joint Force – a group of five Sahelian countries that includes Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso supported by France – are battling insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State who have destabilised swathes of territory in West Africa’s Sahel region in recent years.

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Chadian Minister of Communication and government spokesman, Abderaman Koulamallah, said the development is “a strategic redeployment to best adapt to the organization of terrorists.”

Chad army spokesman, General Azem Bermandoa Agouna, explained that the decision was taken with the agreement of Chad’s Sahel allies.

Agouna added that the recalled troops would be redeployed elsewhere, although he did not give any further details.

The authorities in Chad have faced a separate conflict this year with insurgents in the north.

France also plans to gradually reduce the presence of its military forces in the Sahel to around half the current level of some 5,100 soldiers.

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The former colonial power has seen some success against the militants in recent months, but the situation is extremely fragile, with hundreds of civilians killed in rebel attacks so far this year.

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