West Africa - SahelBrief blogPolice Terrorism

The Burkinabé General Staff hit, the G5 Sahel targeted, the GSIM claims

(B2) The double attack against the Burkinabe General Staff and the French Embassy in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) on Friday was claimed by the extremist group GSIM. Beyond words, it seems that it was the G5 Sahel that was also (and above all?) targeted.

An attack quickly countered by Burkinabe and French forces

The attack, Friday (March 2), first of the French embassy in Ouagadougou then of the staff of the armed forces of Burkina Faso, seemed mainly to target the G5 Sahel. A meeting of the G5 Sahel staff was indeed scheduled for Friday (March 2). And it was only at the last moment that she was moved. The significant toll — 7 Burkinabe soldiers killed and about 70 wounded, including a dozen in critical condition — could therefore have been even heavier (1).

A rapid coordinated French and Burkinabe reaction

"The special units of the Burkinabe defense and security forces, with the support of French soldiers in charge of security at the embassy, ​​quickly neutralized the attackers. » we underline to the French general staff. “A detachment of French forces present in Ouagadougou also intervened, “ immediately, at the request of the local authorities to help secure the two sites and ensure the safety of French nationals.

An attack in response to a raid on Mali

The attack was claimed by the jihadist group GSIM (Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims) the next day (March 3). It would have been conducted in response to the death of several of its leaders in a raid by the French army in northern Mali two weeks ago he said in a statement reported by the private Mauritanian agency Al Akhbar and AFP.

French forces had indeed carried out a major land and air operation against the GSIM in northeastern Mali on February 15, on the edge of the Algerian border, neutralizing around twenty jihadists, captured or killed (read: mali. The French carry out a helicopter raid near the Algerian border).

France, target of terrorist groups

This is not the first attack claimed by the GSIM against the French. On February 21, an attack resulted in the death of two French soldiers. (Read : Two Barkhane soldiers killed in action in Mali). The Malian Tuareg Iyad Ag Ghaly is actively wanted by French forces.

The G5 Sahel targeted?

But beyond the French, it seems to be above all the leaders of the G5 Sahel who were targeted. The attackers apparently appeared to have been well informed. Because a meeting of the G5 Sahel staff was to be held the same day. The Nigerien President Issoufou Mahamadou, has thus " welcomed the energetic and life-saving reaction of the defense and security forces of Burkina Faso and allied countries ". However, he called for heightened vigilance in all states of the G5 Sahel. Through the Burkinabe General Staff, it was, in fact, the G5 Sahel Forces that were targeted. For the Nigerien Issoufou Mahamadou, current president of the G5 Sahel, it is clear. This one has moreover reaffirm[ed] its commitment to do everything possible to consolidate and operate the operational synergy between the defense and security forces of the G5 Sahel member states, their allies and the entire international community ».

...but prepared

The G5 Sahel is aware of the risk run and calls for rapid funding. " Now the armed groups know that the force is in preparation and practically, we face a race against time. I expect an acceleration of the attacks. They will try to put pressure. but the national and international forces are very active. Logistics must follow as quickly as possible. You have to be very pragmatic and practical », said Moussa Faki, President of the African Union Commission, during the press briefing following the Donors Conference for the G5 Sahel, on Friday February 23 (Read: The G5 Sahel requests permanent funding for its Joint Force)

(Claire Boutry, with Leonor Hubaut and AFP)

(1) Nine of the assailants (and not eight as originally announced) were also killed during the attack. No French nationals were killed or injured according to the French Foreign Ministry.

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