What exit strategy? France's Sahel allies open to dialogue with insurgents
How to stop the Sahel from becoming France's Afghanistan? A G5 summit is taking stock of a recent troop surge that's netted wins against IS group-affiliated radicals in the three borders area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. But once again, it's the former colonial power that's led operations, eight years after the French first stepped in to prevent jihadists from marching on Bamako.
What's happened to all those plans to train national armies? Public opinion is weary of attacks and abuses by local soldiers, as well as mismanagement and the French military presence. On the quiet, contacts have been made with some groups while overlapping rivalries between farmers and herders are also the subject of negotiations.
Now, after a recent coup in Mali and ahead of the next French presidential election campaign, what's the way forward? Who do you talk to? Who do you fight?
Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.
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