Macron announces Sahel troop drawdown, calls for new force

France currently has 5,100 troops in the arid and volatile Sahel region

President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday announced a major drawdown of France’s military presence in the Sahel where forces have been battling jihadist insurgents for nearly a decade.

– ‘Cannot be substitute’ – The drawdown would mean the closure of French bases and the use of special forces who would be focused on anti-terror operations and military training, Macron said.

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