AFRICA/NIGER - New French military mission for the Sahel, but not everyone agrees

Friday, 18 July 2014

Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - The French military operation in Mali "Serval" has ended and has been replaced by an even vaster operation "Barkhane", a new mission led by Paris in coordination with Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, to protect the Sahel by jihadist groups expelled from northern Mali but continue to rage in the region. The new military operation was presented on the eve of the visit that the French Head of State, François Hollande, is carrying out in the region.
The news, however, was not welcomed by the associations of civil society in Niger, as reported to Fides by local sources. A statement signed by the President of the Network for Transparency and Budgetary analysis (ROTAB) of Niger denounces what he qualifies as "rampant re-colonization of our Country through the maintenance and installation of new military bases under the abused pretext of security, and the fight against terrorism. This is proven by the fact that operation Serval was transformed into operation Barkhane for the Sahel with the objective to intervene in all the Sahel-Saharan space". The document recalls that the dispute between France and Niger with regards to the sharing of the profits of uranium extracted from local mines has not yet been resolved. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 18/07/2014)