Lessons must be learnt before Barkhane marches into new territory

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Following the same counter-terrorism strategy in other parts of West Africa could see insecurity worsening in littoral states.

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced the withdrawal of Barkhane and Takuba forces from Mali, but expressed commitment to ‘continue … joint action against terrorism in the Sahel region, particularly in Niger and the Gulf of Guinea.’ Presenting a common front, Macron announced this at a press conference that included the presidents of Senegal and Ghana – who are chairing the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States respectively – and the president of the European Union (EU) Council. Their sentiments echoed those of Macron.

But will France and its allies simply shift their anchorage in the region? Or will they transform their strategies based on lessons learnt from their previous interventions ? The 17 February announcement, also backed by Canada, was made against the backdrop of a deteriorating relationship between Mali, France and other European and West African countries.

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