Chad reducing number of soldiers to G5 Sahel force

The government in Chad has said it is halving the number of soldiers deployed to an international force fighting Islamist militants in the Sahel region.

Since 2017, 1,200 Chadian troops have been deployed to the G5 Sahel force.

Despite the ongoing violence, France recently announced it was cutting its military presence in the region from around 5,000 to a maximum of 3,000 troops.

A spokesman for the Chadian government described the troop withdrawal as a strategic move and said the country remained committed to fighting Islamist militants.

“We need a mobile force, hence the withdrawal of some of our forces with heavy weapons,” Abderaman Koulamallah told the AFP news agency.

Of the five nations that contribute to the G5 Sahel force, the soldiers from Chad are seen as some of the most battle-hardened and effective.

However, the regional mission has been hampered by logistical challenges and a lack of equipment.

The decision to halve the number of Chadian soldiers comes at a worrying time for the region.

The attacks by jihadists linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group are relentless.

The latest on Friday night left at least 17 civilians dead in western Niger.

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