French and West African troops are having military success against Islamists in the Sahel, President Emmanuel Macron has said. However, the United Nations reported security was deteriorating and the humanitarian situation worse than ever.
Macron attended a summit in Mauritania on Tuesday with the leaders of five countries in the Sahel, the scrubland south of the Sahara where since 2013 thousands of French troops have been assisting countries battling Islamist fighters.
The G-5 Sahel nations comprise Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez also attended the summit, while other EU leaders joined by video. Attacks in the Sahel have increased in the last two years, especially in the tri-border region of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, where local authorities have been overrun, Reuters said.
A statement by the UN and a group of aid organizations said “the security situation in the Sahel countries has deteriorated considerably in recent months,” adding that “conflicts prevailing in the region are having unprecedented humanitarian consequences.”