News from Africa

Mali 6-14-2022 French troops quit Menaka military base

The French military had stood its ground in the military base for more than nine years. The troops were originally stationed there to fight Muslim extremists. The “terrorists” had used the region as a staging area to mount attacks and terrorize local civilians. Earlier this year France decided to end its military involvement in its former colony. The elected government had been replaced by the military. Russia’s foreign mercenary group, The Wagner Group, had been invited to assist Mali’s military in their battle with the extremists. By the end of the summer, France’s military operations in the country will have come to an end. The UN emissary there warned that the French withdrawal could leave Menaka, where they were based, vulnerable to jihadist attack. Regardless, control of the base has been handed over to the local authorities. It must be remembered that Mali did not compensate France for its assistance in helping combat the extremists.

West Africa 6-6-2022 ECOWAS debates action against recent military coups

ECOWAS is a West African nation organized to strengthen economic and regional cooperation in the region. Military coups in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso have put stress on the organization’s political cohesion. The administrative arm of ECOWAS postponed a decision on how to respond to the military coups. ECOWAS has already suspended the membership of these organizations. Not surprisingly, the regional organization is considering additional actions and sanctions. The organization has threatened severe action against Guinea and Burkina Faso for their military junta’s failure to return quickly to civil rule. In these countries, the military juntas announced that they will remain in power for three years. Nigerian President Buhari asked ECOWAS to consider the civilian population in deciding how to respond to the military’s decision to delay the return to democracy.