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France losing its influence in former colonies in the Sahel

Soldiers from Burkina Faso patrol on the road of Gorgadji in sahel area, Burkina Faso. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Soldiers from Burkina Faso patrol on the road of Gorgadji in sahel area, Burkina Faso. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Published Aug 6, 2023


After threats from France and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), the military leadership of Mali and Burkina Faso notified the world community that any interference in the internal affairs of Niger would be regarded as a declaration of war on these states as well.

A little later, Guinea joined Mali and Burkina Faso, pointing out that economic restrictions on the part of Ecowas were just as unacceptable as military intervention, since they would only lead to a humanitarian crisis that could go beyond the borders of Niger.

The demonstration of solidarity between the three republics to the new government of Niger created a claim to legitimise its own independent policy at home without the consent and approval of France, as well as its Western allies, which immediately caused a split in the Sahel region.

But the presence of its own armed forces, supported and co-ordinated by Russian mercenaries, quickly discouraged the West from military intervention.

A potential military clash with trained and well-equipped mercenary fighters, of whom the Wagner group alone has about 10 000 in the region, could lead to a loss of control over other countries south of the Sahara.

Especially if we take into account the near prospect of the imminent deployment of the Wagner group in Niger and Mali after General Salifou Modi’s talks with representatives of the private military company.

Paris took a break in its offensive against the leadership of Niger and began an operation to evacuate

1 200 of its citizens from the diplomatic institutions of Niamey.

After support from the neighbouring countries of Niger and the proposal to stabilise the situation in the crisis around the new government with the help of Russian mercenaries, France, with interested Western countries, does not rely on military forms of pressure any more.

Moreover, a misunderstanding is brewing inside France itself why the French need this problematic region, and what the true reasons are for the extremely unsuccessful restart of the Franco-African policy by President Macron.

* Salif Kobena Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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