Niger: G5 Sahel tribute to Inates soldiers
Four heads of state of the G5 Sahel countries bowed Sunday in Niamey to the graves of the 71 soldiers who died in the attack on Inates, as a prelude to an extraordinary summit in Niger .
“We have come to offer our condolences to the people of Niger” and encourage “the army of Niger,” said Burkinabé President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the G5 Sahel, after a short ceremony. about ten minutes and a prayer.
Mr. Kaboré, his Nigerian counterparts Mahamadou Issoufou, Malian Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta and Chadian Idriss Deby Itno were briefly seen in front of the two rows of tombs aligned over several tens of meters, freshly covered with mounds of ocher earth, in “the square of ocher martyrs ”of Nigerien army air base 101 in Niamey, where soldiers were buried Friday.
A large panel with the red white and green flag of Niger has been planted with the inscription: “Rest in peace, worthy and valiant son of the country, the Fatherland will be eternally grateful to you”.
The 71 Nigerien soldiers perished in the attack on the Inates military camp in western Niger near the Malian border on Tuesday.
The heads of state of the G5 Sahel (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Chad) announced on Saturday the holding of an extraordinary summit to “consult together” after this bloody attack, the deadliest in the history of this country poor Sahelian, who was claimed by the jihadists of the Islamic State group.
Niger has declared a three-day national mourning, from Friday to Sunday.
Only Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El-Ghazouani was not present at the ceremony, but he is expected for the summit, initially planned for Ouagadougou, but relocated to Niamey, as a sign of solidarity after the tragedy of Inates.
“In agreement with my G5 Sahel counterparts, we decided to relocate our summit originally planned for Ouagadougou tomorrow December 15 in Niamey to show our full solidarity with the people of Niger,” said President Kaboré on Saturday on his twitter account.
Despite the presence of French (Barkhane, 4,500 soldiers), regional (G5 Sahel), UN (Minusma in Mali), as well as American forces, the Sahel is the subject of increasingly frequent jihadist attacks .
Launched in 2015 and reactivated in 2017, the G5 Sahel Joint Force was to have 5,000 men to fight against jihadists in border areas between member countries. But it is struggling to gain momentum.