France sends regional homeland security envoy to Africa´s Sahel region
French Minister Manuel Valls with Senegalese counterpart Abdoulaye Diallo Photo Credit AFP
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced on Friday that Paris would create a “regional homeland security envoy” role in Dakar to boost the fight against terrorism in Africa’s Sahel region.
The spotlight has been thrown on the growing threat of Islamist extremism across the vast hinterland stretching from Senegal in the west to Somalia in the east since France launched a military operation against Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Mali.
“We hope to put this fight against terrorism in the context of a Sahel-wide plan that could be directed from here in Dakar,” Valls told reporters during a visit to the Senegalese capital.
“We are opening (the post of) French regional homeland security attache to strengthen the teams already on the ground here in Dakar, to improve efficiency, especially in the field of intelligence,” he added.
Security in the north of neighbouring Mali remains a priority for all west African nations and for Chad, which sent in troops in January to join the French-led operation to oust armed Islamist groups who had occupied the country’s desert north.
The rebels have threatened reprisals in France and in African countries participating in MINUSMA, the United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali. GO TO SOURCE.-