The G5 Sahel, comprised of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, was launched in 2014 to improve cooperation on development and security in West Africa.
They launched the G5 Sahel joint counter-terrorism force in July 2017. Its mandate is to combat terrorism, transnational organized crime and human trafficking in the Sahel area.
The five nations aim to deploy 5,000 troops in the region along the southern edge of the Sahara desert to work alongside thousands of troops deployed to France’s Operation Barkhane and the U.N.’s MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in Mali.
The force is headquartered in Bamako, Mali and is led by Nigerien General Oumarou Namata, who took command in July 2019, succeeding Mauritanian General Hanena Ould Sidi.
At full operating capacity, the G5 Sahel force will have seven battalions spread over three zones, covering a strip of 50 km on each side of the countries’ borders. It is also expected that a counter-terrorism brigade will be deployed in northern Mali. Three command posts are planned, one in each zone. The central command post covering the tri-border area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger is operational. The others will cover the Mali-Mauritania border and the Niger-Chad border.
The G5 Sahel Joint Force initiative was spearheaded by France, leading to U.N. Security Council resolution 2359 in June 2017 that called for international logistical, operational and financial support to the initiative. In December 2017, the U.N. Security Council authorized Minusma to provide assistance to the G5 Sahel force in Malian territory, provided such assistance does not impact Minusma’s own operations.
The force has also been endorsed by the African Union.
About half a billion dollars has been promised by European countries and the E.U., the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey to finance the regional force.
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