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US to Pledge Up to $60 mln to Fight Terrorism in Sahel

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Money to bolster regional partners to ensure security and stability in the region, Secretary of State says.

The U.S. will pledge up to $60 million to support the Group of Five Sahel States (G5 Sahel) Joint Force’s regional counter-terrorism operations, the State Department announced Monday.

"This money will bolster our regional partners in their fight to ensure security and stability in the face of ISIS (another name for Daesh) and affiliated groups and other terrorist networks," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in the statement.

"This is a fight we must win, and these funds will play a key role in achieving that mission," he said, describing G5 members Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger as "regional partners".

The UN Security Council was due to meet later Monday to support the G5 force and underscore the challenge in the region.Tillerson said he cannot personally attend the meeting at the UN but asked UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to represent the U.S. and its full commitment to security in Africa's Sahel region.

"I thank (French) Foreign Minister (Jean-Yves) Le Drian for his invitation, and commend France and all our other partners’ eagerness to win this fight," Tillerson added.

Several extremist groups are reportedly active in the Sahel region -- including Daesh, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram -- which occasionally carry out attacks on military and civilian targets.

This is especially the case in Mali, where militants overran much of the country in 2012 before being expelled following the intervention of French military forces.The Sahel region stretches across the south-central latitudes of North Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea.

 

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