June 30, 2020 / 7:05 PM / 9 days ago

France's Macron says recent 'spectacular' results make victory in Sahel possible

French President Emmanuel Macron takes part in a working session with leaders of the G5 Sahel West African countries during the G5 Sahel summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania June 30, 2020. Ludovic Marin /Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) - Victory against Islamist militants in the Sahel region is within grasp after a series of “spectacular” results, France’s president said on Monday, but he warned that regional forces had to be exemplary after accusations of human rights abuses.

“We are all convinced that victory is possible in the Sahel. We are finding our way there thanks to the efforts that have been made over the past six months,” French President Emmanuel Macron said after a summit in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott.

“In this fight, we must be exemplary. In the face of the serious allegations which have been reported, investigations will be carried out. The Sahel must not plunge into a cycle of violence and reprisals. This is precisely what terrorist groups are looking for and what they have managed to do in the past.”

He added that the Peul ethnic population in the Sahel, who are suspected by other ethnic groups of collaborating with militants, should not be stigmatised.

Reporting by John Irish; editing by Bate Felix

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