From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Sahel Region
Mains level : NA
French President Emmanuel Macron announced the end of the decade-long Operation Barkhane in Africa’s Sahel Region.
Note the nations falling in Sahel Region.
- The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south.
- Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea.
- The name is derived from the Arabic term for “coast, shore”; this is explained as being used in a figurative sense in reference to the southern edge of the vast Sahara.
- The Sahel part includes from west to east parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, the extreme north of Cameroon and the Central African Republic, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea and the extreme north of Ethiopia.
What is Operation Barkhane?
- France began its military operations in Sahel in January 2013.
- Titled Operation Serval, it was limited to targeting Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaeda who took control of northern Mali.
- However, in 2014, the mission was scaled up, renamed Operation Barkhane and was aimed at counter-terrorism.
- The objective was to assist local armed forces to prevent the resurgence of non-state armed groups across the Sahel region.
- Around 4,500 French personnel were deployed with the local joint counter-terrorism force.