Macron, Sahel leaders to review anti-jihad campaign

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionNiger's drone war against extremists

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionNiger's drone war against extremists

It comes after President Donald Trump's call last week, for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to do more in the Middle East and as French President Emmanuel Macron gathers his counterparts from Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack, in which 63 assailants were also killed, the statement said. Some in Mali, which has struggled for close to a decade with extremism, have protested the French presence.

"The heads of state. underscored the need for greater cooperation in implementing the current initiatives in the Sahel and a stronger global commitment", the leaders said after a summit in Pau, southwest France.

In recent weeks, Macron has found himself on the defensive.

"I don't belong to a generation that has known colonialism", the 42-year-old said.

As tensions mount in the Sahel region of Western Africa, France called a meeting on Monday with five countries in the region.

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The French head of state added: "We need to define the military, political and development goals for the next six, twelve and eighteen months much more clearly".

A united effort is crucial, he said, and the French need to know their troops are welcome.

But "this is not the favorite scenario", he said.

Last week, 89 soldiers from Niger were killed in the latest attack.

"I can't have French troops on the ground in the Sahel when there is ambiguity [by authorities] towards anti-French movements and sometimes comments made by politicians and ministers", he said on a trip to Britain in early December.

- On September 30, 40 soldiers are killed at Mondoro and Boulkessy in central Mali at two military camps near the border with Burkina Faso.

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Dozens of French soldiers and hundreds of troops from regional countries were also killed.

In August 2014, Operation Barkhane was launched by France, Mali, Burkina Faso and a number of other regional countries, to combat various militant groups active in the Sahel region in Africa. The fighters were driven out, but have since reunited.

Last year, only Dollars 300 of USD 400 million pledged by the worldwide community in cash and material support to the Sahel was delivered, according to the French presidency.

During the attack 77 "terrorists" are "neutralised" according to Niger's authorities.

He said more than 4,000 deaths were reported past year.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, who was to attend a dinner with Macron and the G5 leaders, warned this month that "terrorist groups are gaining ground".

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