French and Sahel soldiers step up campaign against jihadists

Soldiers of the Malian Forces alongside a soldier of France's Barkhane mission and another soldier from Burkina Faso (R) during a joint tactical coordination operation in the Malian desert on November 4, 2017. PHOTO | FILE | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Thousands of civilians and soldiers have died in violence across the Sahel which began when armed Islamists revolted in northern Mali in 2012.
  • France has some 4,500 troops in the region and the G5 Sahel force has a projected total of 5,000.
  • The jihadists have exploited ethnic divisions and a feeling of abandonment to enmesh themselves in local communities.

Burkina Faso,

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