French, Malian, Burkinabe and Nigerien soldiers took part in a joint counter-terrorism operation in the Sahel earlier this month involving several thousand troops.
As part of Operation Monclar, 1 700 soldiers of the French-led Barkhane force, and 3 000 Malian, Nigerien and Burkinabe soldiers G5 Sahel joint force took part in operations between 3 and 23 March. Several terrorists were put out of action and many resources were seized, the French defence ministry said.
The operation took place in the Gourma region in the south of Mali. The joint force also carried out a large operation on the border between Burkina Faso and Mali, deploying 400 armoured vehicles.
French VBCI armoured vehicles were deployed, providing protection against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs)and offering substantial firepower using their 25 mm automatic cannon.
In addition, throughout the operation, unmanned aerial vehicles and fighter jets stationed in Niamey provided ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) and fire support.
In three weeks of operation, a large number of terrorists were neutralized and numerous resources were seized or destroyed, including nearly 80 motorcycles, a technical pickup armed with a heavy machine gun, a very large quantity of armaments, ammunition, and material necessary for the making of explosive devices.
Led by the French military, in partnership with the G5 Sahel countries, Operation Barkhane was launched on 1 August 2014. It is based on a strategic partnership with Burkina-Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad. It brings together around 5 100 soldiers whose mission is to fight against terrorism and armed groups and to support the armed forces of partner countries.