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It was under François Hollande’s five-year term in 2013 that France first launched into Mali. This first intervention was carried out during Operation Serval. In 2014, it became Operation Barkhane. As journalist Lucile Devillers points out, this time, French troops have started to operate in a wider field of action in the Sahel including, in addition to Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.
There, the French soldiers are trying to push back the raging jihadist groups. If the mission proves to be complicated, the army must keep a specific objective in mind according to Vincent Hugeux, journalist and specialist in Africa. “It is to prevent the constitution on a Sahelian scale of a real caliphate, of an Islamic emirate”, he analyzes.