France to scale down West Africa counter-terrorism operations

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France is to scale down counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel region of West Africa after eight years.

This was informed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

He announced, the existing 5,100-strong task force will be incorporated into a broader international mission.

French forces have been operating in Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso to fight militants.

Last week, France paused operations in Mali following a military coup.

Militants linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group have strengthened their grip on the region, which has become a front line in the war against Islamist extremism.

It is also a major transit route for illegal drugs, weapons and jihadists.