G5 Sahel countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger – are due to meet in Brussels next week to broaden security and military cooperation with the EU as attacks in the Sahel region have intensified. All five countries send their diplomats to discuss further aid with the EU ministers of defence, foreign affairs, and development. The main objectives regard the stabilization and security of the region that has recently been under unprecedented threat.
G5 Sahel Joint Force is a five-nation army that has been formed to crack down on the Jihadi militias operating in the region. The EU had initially contributed €50m to fund “non-lethal equipment, services, and infrastructure” in an attempt to help the regional force. Also Germany is involved by deploying some 1000 troops in the area, with Angela Merkel having singled out additional €40m to fight Jihadists in the region. France, in a similar manner, provides 4500 troops to support local forces. “The common G5 force is not just a French question, it is a European question,” said the EU diplomat, linking the issue with conflict in Libya whose prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj is also planning on attending the Brussels meeting.
The UN estimates the number of people displaced by the conflict has increased five-fold in the past year alone. The situation is getting worse as have recent developments confirmed. Last week, gunmen attacked a mass at a Catholic church in Burkina Faso leaving 6 dead worshippers. This was the third such attack in recent weeks. The UN proclaimed that over 100,000 people have been displaced by the unrest in Burkina Faso last year only. Therefore, an enhanced cooperation with the EU is hoped to help tackle the deteriorating situation in the Sahel.