Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



The military college training officers to confront terrorism and jihadism in the Sahel

Copyright © africanews
Joël Honoré Kouam


Colonel Major Nana Sangaré, an officer in the Malian army has just concluded her training at the G5 Sahel Defense College in Nouakchott, Mauritania. She is the first woman to join this defense college since its creation.

Today, she is part of the 3rd promotion that received diplomas at the most recent graduation of officers held mid July. Colonel Sangaré has a wish. She wants more military women included in the fight against terrorism in the Sahelian zone.

"Yes, against terrorism and jihadism, women have a lot to contribute. It is easier for women to have contacts within the population, and it is the population that is really terrorized if we are to look at it frankly. And also women can openly talk about their problems to women. It's even easier that way. So when there is a woman who is leading the investigations in relation to anything, women can go far by saying everything and anything once trust is established"- the MalianColonel said.

The G5 Sahel Defense College in Nouakchott was first a Mauritanian project created in 2013 well before the birth of the G5 Sahel. Originally, the institution was intended to raise the level and capabilities of the Mauritanian army in the face of the new security threat.

The college has a simulation center capable of putting the trainee in a field situation, and is interconnected with the G5 East and West centers with which it can have simultaneous exercises.

But given the rise in terrorist attacks in the Sahel region, Mauritanian authorities decided to make it available to the G5 Sahel since it was part of the countries that faced the same threat.

The Defense College has since then brought together military elites for two levels of higher military education at the staff school and the war college.

For the director of the school General Brahim Vall Cheibani Cheikh, it became imperative to group the G5 army executives around the same training module.

"The G5 Sahel is based on two pillars, a development pillar and a defense and security pillar, the armies of the G5 countries being confronted with the same threat, it was judicious that the executives who command the forces on the ground underwent the same training and the same vision of the threat, and the same methodological approach, and the same work processes because tomorrow at the end of the day they will find themselves in the same theater working to face the same enemy"- the General explained.

Also, Brahim recognizes that today's military solutions are no longer sufficient in conflict management, because the environment has a great impact on the situation and the population. It is therefore a question for the trainees to appropriate these areas in the courses that are provided to them for a perfect mastery of the field.

They must now take into account the social, humanitarian, and human rights in their exercise on the field, he said.

At the end of the 3rd promotion training, 44 trainee officers received their diplomas from the hands of the Chadian Minister of Defense, who reminded them that from now on, it is up to the Sahelians to solve the problems of the Sahel, and not to foreigners.

"The G5 Sahel Defense College is a living model that stems from the founding principle of the awareness of our States, which translates into the appropriation of Sahelian problems by the Sahelians themselves" - General Daoud Yaya Brahim, Minister Delegate to the Presidency of the Council, in charge of National Defense of Chad.

For Baradile Zadilba, Chadian Army Battalion Chief there is a typical approach here. And that is "especially in the area of the environment, and that is what we need to focus on" he stressed. "And I hope that after this training that we have received here, that we will be effective enough on the ground to fight terrorism" Zadilba added.

In three years of operation, 106 officers have been trained at the G5 Sahel Defense College some of whom are deployed within the G5 Sahel joint force. The college is now also open to officers from outside the sahel. Cameroon has asked to send soldiers and some officers from Saudi arabia took part in the last session.

Africanews correspondent Joel Kouam reports that "the G5 Sahel War College is the first transnational institution to offer training in techniques and operations in the Sahel zone to military officers".

He said the message was now clear for the leaders of the institution: it is up to the Sahelians to find the answer to the Sahel problem and that to fight terrorists and jihadists, it is no longer enough to wage the war alone. The population must also be involved in this process, Kouam added.

View more