Nouakchott- African powers attending the Bamako Summit on Sunday set the final touches of a new multinational military force to fight terrorism in the Sahel.
The summit held by the G5 Sahel bloc, including Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, also appointed Malian general Didier Dacko to command the new force.
Dacko said on Sunday that the military headquarters of the new force would be in the northern Mali town of Sevare.
During the summit, the G5 Sahel members had agreed on a budget of 423 million euros for the multinational force, while Macron promised that France would contribute to finance the force’s operations, with the help of other European partners.
The French president also said he hoped it would be possible to make a French-German funding commitment following talks in Paris next July 13.
Macron said his country would provide 70 tactical vehicles and 8 million euros before the end of the year.
However, he added, “it will be up to you and your armed forces to demonstrate that the G5 can be effective while respecting humanitarian conventions. The results have to be there to convince your partners.”
Although the European Union was quick to pledge around 50 million euros for the new force, the US and Britain objected that the UN makes a financial contribution.
Based on an agreement between the African powers, the new force is expected to consist of around 5,000 troops, and needs to be fully operational by this autumn.
The summit was held on the eve of a video released on Saturday by JNIM, an al Qaeda-linked group, showing six foreign hostages who were kidnapped in Mali and Burkina Faso between 2011 and 2017. The hostages are from France, Colombia, Australia, South Africa, Romania and Switzerland.
On Sunday, Macron said France would put all its energy towards eradicating the kidnappers.