EU Ramps Up Support for Insurgent Fight in West African Desert

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union will provide an additional 194 million euros ($211 million) to support a multinational military operation countering Islamist insurgents in West Africa’s Sahel region.

The commitment includes 112 million euros to strengthen the capacity of forces battling jihadist groups in the region, according to a statement published on the European Commission’s website on Wednesday. The remainder will go toward development efforts and improving living conditions and resilience in the so-called G5 Sahel states -- Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso.

The funding is part of a broader effort to fight militants and tackle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The EU pledged 800 million euros to the G5 countries in December 2018, up from an earlier 116 million-euro contribution. In total, the EU has mobilized 4.5 billion euros through 2020 in support of the Sahel nations.

“The situation in the Sahel keeps deteriorating and the coronavirus pandemic cannot make us forget how serious the situation is in a region whose challenges are our challenges as well,” European Commission Vice President Josep Borrell said in the statement.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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