French jets hit targets in northern Chad last week in support of local troops, the French military said in a statement.

“A Mirage 2000 patrol of the French armed forces intervened jointly with the Chadian army in northern Chad to strike a column of 40 pickups of an armed group from Libya infiltrating deep into Chadian territory. 

This intervention at the request of Chadian authorities helped hinder this hostile advance and disperse the column.”

This happened as part of Operation Barkhane, an ongoing French anti-insurgent operation in Africa’s Sahel region, which commenced in August 2014.

The French force in the region is a 3,000-strong counter-terrorism force, with 1,000 soldiers deployed indefinitely in Mali.

These forces are focused on counter-terrorism operations in northern Mali, with another 1,200 soldiers stationed in Chad, and the remaining soldiers split between a surveillance base in Niger, a bigger permanent base in Ivory Coast, and some special forces in Burkina Faso.

According to original plans, the French forces have 20 helicopters, 200 armored vehicles, 10 transport aircraft, 6 jets and 3 drones.

The French statement did not say who was behind the incursion, but it was the first time French forces have hit targets in support of Chad troops since a fledgling rebel movement based in southern Libya increased its activities last year.

More can be found here.

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Large countries with open porous borders. Libya, Mali and Chad are 100% going to be the next bases of operations for whatever is left of ISIS. Just wondering if this mission should become a NATO mission and we stamp them out now before they become too established?

Cam Hunter

It’s a double edged sword, basing huge numbers of western troops in that region will be used by terrorists to recruit even more and it’ll be a force multiplier for terrorist orgonisatiins, the ideal thing would be low key operations to wipe them out using covert forces and special forces along with drones and air power and the training and equipping of local forces to ultimately take over all the security in future. Atleast special forces will be busy all over the world for many years to come, I hope Gavin has UK special forces number increse planned in future.

John Clark

It would make sense Mr Bell, it’s vital to harass and attack these vile terrorist groups at every opportunity and allowing them to dig in and create a serous presence in that area will only mean a much larger engagement will be needed the coming years.

That never works out, look at the bloody mess Libya been left in.

Daniele Mandelli

It never works out if we are occupying another’s land.

Using SF, intelligence and Cyber, like why we are buying those new ships as a naval staging area, is fine.

Strike the terror groups. Do not occupy their countries.

Daniele Mandelli

Maybe if we stopped these stupid interventions Libya might now be a stable country with Gadaffi still in charge. And we would not have the migrant crisis from that quarter, at least.

farouk

Daniele wrote: “Maybe if we stopped these stupid interventions Libya might now be a stable country with Gadaffi still in charge. And we would not have the migrant crisis from that quarter, at least” From the BBC, Aug 2010: Gaddafi wants EU cash to stop African migrants Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi says the EU should pay Libya at least 5bn euros (£4bn; $6.3bn) a year to stop illegal African immigration and avoid a “black Europe”. Speaking on a visit to Italy, Col Gaddafi said Europe “could turn into Africa” as “there are millions of Africans who want to come… Read more »

Cam Hunter

We should have kept Gaddafi!.he was the better of two evils….