Sahel remains fragile despite battle gains against militants

Militants have also pushed further south towards coastal countries such as Ivory Coast.

Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Kabore said the summit’s context was “marked by the persistence of terrorist attacks.”

In a report on June 24, the U.S. State Department said attacks in the region had increased 250 percent since 2018.

“Partner countries remain strong willed against terrorism but lack the means to contain or degrade the threat on a sustained basis,” it said.

The multinational Takouba task force is an expanded group of special forces which would target militants and help train national special forces.

It is expected to start operations in the summer with about 100 Estonians and French personnel. Some 60 Czechs will join by end of year and 150 Swedes in 2021.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte could confirm Italian interest in the task force during the summit.

The United States mostly provides military support and intelligence.

(Reporting by Kissimou Diagana in Nouakchott and Thiam Ndiaga in Ouagadougou and John Irish in Paris; Editing by Angus MacSwan Writing by Bate Felix)

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