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The Italians as reinforcements for the French in Niger

(B2) By visiting the ship Etna which has recently assumed the role of flagship of the EUNAVFOR Med / Sophia operation, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni confirmed that Italy would invest more in the Sahel. “ We must continue to focus our attention and energy on the threat of human trafficking and terrorism in the Sahel ».

A shift from Iraq to Niger

The government will make a legislative proposal in the coming days in parliament to enable this deployment. This involves switching between the personnel currently in Iraq (1400 personnel) and moving to Niger. “ Several of the forces in Iraq will be deployed in the coming months in Niger said the Prime Minister.

A force of around 500 soldiers

Concretely, this bilateral Italian operation will have the role of training the Nigerian army, with a particular role against the fight against human trafficking and terrorism. The operation is expected to include 470 soldiers and 150 vehicles.

A first contingent at Madama

According to La Repubblica, the first 150 soldiers could leave quickly, before the end of the year or in the first days of January. The Italian contingent should be deployed in Madama, to reinforce the French. This former Foreign Legion fort, now reactivated, located in a strategic location approximately 100 km from the Libyan border and 260 km from the Salvador Pass (passage of all traffickers), currently serves as a forward operational base for Operation Barkhane.

Comment: The objective of the Italians, which was announced several months ago, is to be able to block the human trafficking routes from the Sahel to Libya and to arrest the traffickers, in order to control the land border, through south of Libya.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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