What are the consequences for the Saber force after the request for the withdrawal of French soldiers from Burkina Faso?

What are the consequences for the Saber force after the request for the withdrawal of French soldiers from Burkina Faso?

What are the consequences for the Saber force after the request for the withdrawal of French soldiers from Burkina Faso?

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The Burkina Faso government spokesperson confirmed, on Monday, January 23, 2023, that the Burkinabe authorities have requested the departure of French troops based in the country, within a month. What will become of the soldiers of this Saber force? Response items.

Since 2009, Saber’s rear base has been in Kamboinsin, near Ouagadougou. A camp for a staff of 400 soldiers. Kamboinsin is ideally located to radiate in the Sahelo-Saharan strip and more precisely in the area of ​​the three borders, the epicenter of the fight against armed terrorist groups.

Reduction of the theater of operations

But, since the end of Barkhane and the departure from Mali, the theater of operations has been considerably reduced: the French army has moved further east, to Niger. With Paris, Niamey has concluded an operational military association to act in a limited area, the Nigerien Liptako only.

Securing the border between Mali and Niger against incursions, particularly from the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), is the main mission. Two thousand French soldiers are stationed in Niger, and this workforce should not move despite the ongoing reorganization.

Logistical difficulty

Installing part of the special forces, a small contingent, in Niger’s Liptako would therefore make sense from an operational point of view. But the difficulty of this maneuver today is above all logistics: a month for such a move, and above all a repatriation of the bulk of the troops, is short… Too short say the experts.

Also read: Burkina Faso confirms that it has requested the departure of French troops

What evaluation for Saber Force?

Discretion is the DNA of special forces. But Task Force Saber’s objectives are known: to neutralize the leaders of the terrorist katibas. And in the Sahel, Saber Force’s results are important. Example: On June 3, 2020 near Tessalit, these special forces eliminated Abdelmalek Droukdel, the emir of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). On August 17, 2021, in the Dangarous forest, still in Mali, Saber’s men neutralized Abou Walid Al Sahraoui, the historical leader of the EIGS. Almost always, these commandos operate with the support of drones or combat aircraft. But the success of these missions depends on your ability to infiltrate, to go undetected, sometimes for days, to lead attacks when the time is right, and then launch the assault. Special forces are there for major, sometimes even strategic, effect by engaging only a small number of men. “Do different” is their motto. This requires being agile, mastering intelligence and going unnoticed. For this reason, the Saber Force, although present in the Sahel since 2009, has always remained in the shadows.

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