Not a lot of news from Mali and CAR. More likely I’ve not been paying much attention.
7/19 – The Feed – France Sets Up Permanent Anti-Terror Force in Africa –
Quoting an Economist article, Mr. Mead says France has set up a 3,000 strong force that will be headquartered in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital, as a permanent counter-terrorism force in Francophone Africa. Troops will be spread around the region. Reportedly the permanent force in Mali will be 1,000.
7/19 Economist – François Hollande’s African Adventures – Other tidbits. The regional force will have 20 helicopters, 200 armored vehicles, 10 transport planes, 6 fighters, and 3 drones. For a force of 4,000? Sounds like an extremely lightweight amount of equipment. Not even a squadron of fighters. One armored vehicle for each 20 troops.
The French claim they’ve acheived their goal in Mali and a 6,500 strong UN force has taken over most of the work. In CAR, they claim to have prevented a serious genocide but find they can’t pull out.
9/1 – Washington Post – Pentagon set to open second drone base in Niger as it expands operations in Africa – The new drone base in Agadez, Niger will be on the border at the east end of Mali, on the edge of AQIM territory and able to monitor a trade route between Libya and Mali. Undisclosed number of USAF troops and drones will operate there. Other two drone bases are N’Djamena, Chad, adjacent to Niger on the east and at the edge of Boko Haram controlled territory and Niamey Niger to the south of AQIM and west of Boko Haram.
The way this is developing is for France to have the boots on the ground and take the visible role with the US providing airlift and drone capability. Sitting in my comfy armchair here, seems like a good plan.
9/3 – The Feed – Boko Haram Carving Out Its Own ISIS-Style State in Nigeria – If Boko Haram captures the capital of Brono and the surrounding area, they may essentially have a free-standing state. Article says the Boko Haram soldiers are appearing in battle with heavy weapons and tanks. This is off-track from my focus on Mali and CAR, but since its next door, thought I’d include it.