MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd December, 2019) French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Niger to pay homage to 71 soldiers who were killed in a jihadist attack earlier this month and meet his Nigerien counterpart, Mahamadou Issoufou.
Macron will join the ceremony in the capital city of Niamey and hold a meeting with Issoufou to discuss preparations for the upcoming Sahel G5 summit, which is to take place on January 13 in the southern French town of Pau and gather Issoufou and the presidents of Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad and Mauritania - the five Sahel countries. The summit will be aimed at clarifying their position on the presence of the French troops within the framework of Operation Barkhane in the region.
In early December, militants attacked an army camp in western Niger near the Malian border leaving at least 70 servicemen killed, while 30 others went missing. The attack occurred in the area of Inates military camp, with the attackers reportedly surrounding the camp in small groups of 10. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia).
The attack was one of the largest in scale and number of casualties among the Nigerien military.