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The Debate

France's quagmire? Sahel region targeted by increasing jihadist attacks

THE DEBATE
THE DEBATE FRANCE 24

The youngest was 22, the oldest 43. France is mourning its loss in Mali. The 13 troops killed in the collision of two military helicopters on patrol making for the biggest single day casualty toll since 1983 and serving as a reminder that nearly seven years after the French military intervened to rout the jihadists who had taken over the north, Mali's insurgency has relocated south to the inhospitable area bordering Niger and Burkina Faso. Why the resurgence? What's the plan?

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How does former colonial power France with its 4,500 personnel on hand avoid it becoming a quagmire and losing public support in both Bamako and Paris? How does a weak Malian state truly take control of its own destiny? Let's not forget that although France just lost 13 troops in an accident, back on November 1, Mali lost 49 of its soldiers in an ambush. 

Failed states are where radical movements thrive. A new caliphate practically on Europe's doorstep would be a disaster all around. We ask our panel what they think of the Takouba initiative, a plan pushed by France to share the burden of patrolling the Sahara. Some hope it can even be the embryo of a European army. 

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Jimena Morales-Velasco.

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