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France: Yearly Review on Operation SANGARIS

Report by Alejandro Ronard Alem

Report  by ESN Associate Director Alejandro Ronard Alem.-    Almost a year to the day that the French military operation SANGARIS was launched in the Central African Region (RCA), general Eric Bellot des Miniéres, Commander of the SANGARIS forces, evaluates the situation in the region. 

Directly from Bangui on a videoconference, General Bellot des Miniéres addressed the press at the Ministry of Defense in Paris to say:

The security situation in RCA is still fragile but, without a doubt, nothing close to the situation that his predecessor, General Soriano, found when he arrived in the central African territory.  The security situation is becoming better around the capital of Bangui, and normality is underway in the rest of the country. Economic activity is being revitalized and the dialog among communities is possible again, in virtue of the new authorities acting within this transition and the religious chiefs. The troops of MINUSMA (UN mission) participate in patrols along with the SANGARIS troops; while at the same time growing in strength and experience, relegating our troops in grayer tasks, explained General Bellot des Miniéres.

-“ We have destroyed 14 tons of ammunition, requisitioned 9000 weapons of all kinds, that will also be destroyed.”

General-Bellot

General-Bellot

Security conditions in Bangui, in the center and in the east of RCA are enough to allow working closer with non governmental organizations ONG´s. This is a sign that RCA is going toward a stabilization, and we are seeing the slow but steady return of refugees. The airport of Bangui is secure, in the city itself the gendarmerie has 480 elements divided in four companies, who as police force, fighting common crime. There are jihadists groups that are still active in the southwest and in the border region of Sudan, where the group that calls itself LRA (about 200 members) has tried to conduct guerrilla style warfare but have been subdued by American forces.

-“The spirit of French forces is excellent”, said the General. At the end of September, the Chief of Staff of the army, General Jean-Pierre Bosser, conducted the first shift in RCA and was able to observe the remarkable adaptation of our military, despite the difficult environment.

General Bosser participated in a nocturnal walking tour where he was able to verify the good coordination between the SANGARIS forces and the MINUSCA mission.

Finally, I would like to add a personal appreciation over the respect shown for the political timetable established at the beginning of the transition in government, that calls for general elections in the coming year, which will definitely normalize the RCA region.

In reference to the use of the reserve SANGARIS forces to enhance the BERKHANE forces, General Bellot des Miniéres was evasive.

At the end of the press conference, there is added information about the different fronts of the war against terrorism…

 France in Irak & Syria.

In Irak, 1/12 3 mirages 2000 D stationed in the French base of Amman, attacked a check point of DAESH in the region of Mont Sinjar, and they were able to destroy jihadists positions.  These elements of aviation belong to the Base 133, Nancy. In the next few days, other 3 teams of Mirage planes will join the Amman platform. Faced with the question of who and how are the areal attacks planned in Irak, the answer was that the coordination of these operatives is under the command of the a French General for the African Sud-Sarhene regions and in Irak and Siria, an American General.

In the case of Irak, the participation of French aviation along with the Americans, the Iraki army and the armed forces of Kurds, have stopped, frozen and closed down all advances by DAESH forces