According to several news reports from Africa, the French government is hoping to cut back its military presence in the Sahel to make room for a stronger European commitment.
If true, this decision comes less than a year after sending hundreds of extra troops to the Sahel. The last surge brought the total of French troops in the Sahel to 5,100. They are participating in “Operation Barkhane” that fights the growing jihadist insurgency in the region. French troops have been stationed in the region since 2013.
The French defense ministry has not commented on any troop withdrawal plans.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defense Minister Florence Parly both visited Mali in recent weeks to help the French government assess its troop presence in the Sahel.