France and the countries of G5 Sahel — Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania — have requested that Chad, also a member of the coalition, continues to take part in it. The G5 countries also “highlighted the importance of sending a Chadian battalion to the Three-Borders area as soon as possible,” according to a joint statement issued by G5 Sahel and France after a meeting last week. 

The “Three Borders” area, where Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso meet, has suffered a tremendous amount of violence by Islamist militants that have pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. The effects of climate change have also been a factor in the violence as nomadic Fulani peoples have seen their lands disappear because of drought and overpopulation and have been drifting into other lands, taking them by force.

A misunderstanding may be at the base of the request to Chad to remain involved in the G5. Back in mid-April, after heavy fighting between Chadian military forces and Boko Haram terrorists in the Lake Chad region where 98 Chadian soldiers were killed, Chadian President Idriss Deby said, “From today, no Chadian soldier will take part in an external military operation.”

However, a statement released through the Chadian Foreign Affairs ministry said President Deby’s remarks had been misunderstood and he only meant the army would no longer conduct unilateral operations beyond its borders in the Lake Chad Basin.