West Africa anti-jihadi force nears capacity

The so-called G5 Force has the endorsement of the United Nations Security Council and financial support from France.

Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Chad's President Idriss Deby, Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and France's Defence Minister Florence Parly at a summit of the G5 anti-terror coalition on 13 December 2017. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - A special conference in Bamako has heard that the five-nation anti-jihadi force in West Africa will reach full capacity in March this year.

The so-called G5 Force has the endorsement of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and financial support from France.

Four years ago, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad, Mali and Niger agreed to combine forces to fight Islamist extremists threatening them.

Last year the group received the green light from the UNSC.

Foreign ministers and defence ministers from the five nations met on Wednesday.

G5 permanent secretary Najim Eladji Mohamed told officials the military contingent will reach full capacity in March.