Macron arrives in Mauritania for Sahel anti-jihad summit | AFP

Emmanuel Macron arrives in Mauritania for the Sahel summit, welcomed on his descent from the plane by the Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani. Along with four other presidents of Sahel countries, they are to take stock of their common struggle against the region’s jihadists. IMAGES

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Worried Togo finds itself on front line of Sahel’s jihadist war | AFP

Jihadist fighters attack and kill those who pass on Togo’s northern border with Burkina Faso, where militant Islamism is spreading through Africa’s Sahel region. Just a dried-out river bed separates the two West African countries. To keep radicals out, Togo’s authorities rely on both hard military strength and the soft power of cultural leaders. N°1PS7NJN°1Q03TP

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Terror in the Sahel & Corona Crash | VICE on SHOWTIME

Ben Anderson goes to Burkina Faso where one of Africa’s fastest growing humanitarian crises spins out of control as the Sahel become the new epicenter of terrorism and violence.

Michael Moynihan surveys the long-term economic devastation wrought by Covid-19 and asks if our cure is causing another disease.

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Emmanuel Macron pays tribute to soldiers killed in Mali | AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron lays a wreath with his G5 Sahel counterparts at the 5th Combat Helicopter Regiment base in Pau, the home of seven of the 13 French soldiers killed in operations in Mali last December. IMAGES

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Protest against French military presence in Mali | AFP

Protesters burn a French flag at a rally held against the presence of the French military in Mali. The protest comes ahead of a summit in France for heads-of-state concerning deteriorating security in Sahel. IMAGES

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In the desert heat, Niger holds first ever marathon | AFP

In an arid desert setting, runners participate in the first ever marathon in Niger’s history, taking place in and around the city of Agadez. The athletes run under the close watch of dozens of soldiers, deployed to prevent any possible attack by jihadists. Organised with the slogan “Running for Peace in the Sahel”, the ‘Grand Marathon du TĂ©nĂ©rĂ©’ aims to help put a stop to the isolation of this troubled region.

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Military drones | AFP Animé

France has officially deployed its first armed drones, three American-built Reapers fitted with laser-guided missiles, in its fight against a jihadist insurrection in Africa’s Sahel region.Videographic on drones.VIDEOGRAPHIC

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Drones | AFP Animé

France has officially deployed its first armed drones, three American-built Reapers fitted with laser-guided missiles, in its fight against a jihadist insurrection in Africa’s Sahel regionVIDEOGRAPHIC

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Fighting jihadism in the Sahel: life inside the military camps | AFP

Every evening, French soldiers operating in Africa’s Sahel region set up a temporary forward operating base in the middle of enemy territory. It is in these camps, in difficult conditions and under permanent risk of attack, that the troops live their daily lives. N°1N69G4N°1N73Q3

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In Sahel, French troops hunt hidden menace of jihadist landmines | AFP

Thirteen out of the forty-one French soldiers who have died in Mali since 2013 were killed by improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. These hidden homemade bombs – simple to make, and highly effective – also pose a major risk to civilians. In Gao, northern Mali, French forces have a specialised laboratory dedicated to analysing and neutralising this threat. N°1MY57KN°1N629A

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Brothers in arms: African and French armies join forces in fight against jihadism in the Sahel | AFP

In the border zone between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, French and Burkinabe soldiers march in step. Named Bourgou IV, their mission was the first official joint ground operation between the French army and the so-called G5 Sahel force, which pools troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Their goal: assert control over an area where no troops had set foot for over a year. It is in this “three borders” area that 13 French soldiers lost their lives in a helicopter accident on Monday.

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In Mali, dreams and sadness for the Sahel express | AFP

Not a single train has travelled on the line connecting the capitals of Mali and Senegal since May 17, 2018, when the company collapsed. Knee-high weeds grow on the track at Bamako station. But even today, many of the railway’s workers — unpaid but still technically employed — still show up at the station, a colonial-era bijou in ochre stone, complete with clock and signs for the ticket office.

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Senegalese President Macky Sall meets with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in Dakar | AFP

Senegalese President Macky Sall receives French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe at the presidential palace in Dakar to discuss the fight against jihadism in the Sahel. IMAGES

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Angela Merkel begins tour of Sahel region in Burkina Faso

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is greeted by Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in Ouagadougou. She is at the start of a tour of the Sahel region that will see her pass through Niger and Mali. IMAGES

French, Mali troops kill, capture 30 jihadists in African Sahel

Troops from France’s 126th regiment in Briva-la-Gaillarde “killed or captured 30 jihadists” during a four-month tour of duty in central and eastern Mali as part of Operation Barkhane, the French-led anti-insurgent offensive launched in 2014 aimed at combatting the jihadist threat in Africa’s Sahel region.

Africa Weekly – a round up of news and features from Africa

This week on Africa Weekly, we focus on a base in eastern Mali, set up for soldiers joining ‘Operation Barkhane’ in the Sahel desert and we travel to South Sudan where a lull in fighting has led scores of displaced people to cautiously return home.FOR SUBSCRIBERS OF AFRICA WEEKLY ONLY

‘Operation Barkhane’ thwarting “terrorists” in the Sahel desert

A new French military base is under construction in east-central Mali. “These border areas are obviously the places most sought after by terrorists to carry out their actions,” said General Frederic Blachon, commander of Operation Barkhane, France’s 4,500-strong anti-jihadist force which is headquartered in Chad but operates across the Sahel region.

G5 Sahel: Leaders and financial backers meet in Mauritania

Donors and leaders of the G5 Sahel group gather for a conference in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The organisation wishes to strengthen its development projects, particularly in border regions where jihadists are taking advantage of the shortcomings of the states to establish themselves. IMAGES

Son of Mali hostage Sophie PĂ©tronin expects more from France

A week ago, Frenchman SĂ©bastien Chadaud-PĂ©tronin headed to the Sahel region in West Africa with the hope of obtaining his mother’s release. She was running a charity helping orphans when she was kidnapped by armed men in Gao, northern Mali, in December 2016. No group claimed responsibility for kidnapping until July 2017, when Al-Qaeda’s Mali branch released a video showing her. In a interview with AFPTV, he says the French state “isn’t doing enough.”

Campaigns end in Mauritania on eve of elections

Campaigning comes to an end in Mauritania one day before the country, a frontline state in the Sahel’s fight against jihadism, goes to the polls. The three-way elections will test head of state Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz’s record seven months ahead of a presidential vote.