Russia’s influence grows as France exits Sahel region

French President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to limit the military footprint in West and Central Africa is taking shape.

According to sources, France is planning a significant reduction of troops in the region, from its current level to around 600.

This move comes amidst rising anti-French sentiment in some former colonies and growing Russian influence.

The planned reduction focuses on “pre-positioned” forces, with troop numbers dropping in Gabon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Chad.

However, the possibility of scaling up the presence based on local needs remains.

The drawdown follows France’s withdrawal from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger due to tensions with the ruling juntas in these countries.

These nations have since turned to Russia for security assistance, further fueling the geopolitical shift in the region.

France is aiming to minimize its physical presence while maintaining strategic access.

A Paris-based command center dedicated to Africa is planned, potentially involving collaboration with American or European partners.

The focus will shift from combat missions to training and capacity building for partner countries, catering to their specific requests.

This strategic change reflects France’s evolving approach to its military presence in Africa.

By adapting to the changing landscape, France aims to preserve its relationships and influence in the region.

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