France plans to invest 42 million Euros ($47 million) in anti -terror efforts in Africa’s Sahel region, a French interior ministry official said on Friday.
“In future we will train all the countries of the G5 Sahel and Senegal with 42 million Euros in financing, including 24 million Euros for equipment,” said a spokeswoman for Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve during his visit to Dakar, Senegal on Friday.
G5 Sahel is a regional security organisation composed of Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania. The investment period is 2017-2022,the spokeswoman added.
“We have decided to strengthen our cooperation between our police in order for the first responders and special forces to intervene at the highest level of efficiency in the event of a mass killing,” added the French Interior Minister.
The Sahel, is a politically fragile region whose remote desert area hold various jihadists groups, and is seen as vulnerable to attacks after recent terror attacks in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.
Nearby Senegal, a Western security partner with a long history of stability, has so far been spared.
France retains a military presence in Senegal with 350 soldiers. A much larger force of 3,500 is spread across Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso to combat jihadists.
Senegal’s ally the United States has also boosted military cooperation with the country and in May, both countries signed a cooperation agreement to ease the deployment of American troops there.