Rwanda Pledges Military Support to Benin Republic in Battle Against Sahel Conflict

Rwanda Pledges Military Support to Benin Republic in Battle Against Sahel Conflict

In recent news from Radio France International, Rwanda President Paul Kagame has announced his commitment to providing military support to Benin in order to address the spillover of the Sahel conflict along its northern border with Burkina Faso. This decision comes as the coastal nations of West Africa, including Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire, find themselves increasingly concerned about the escalating Sahel conflict just beyond their northern borders.

In 2022, Benin initiated discussions with Rwanda regarding potential military and logistical cooperation. It is worth noting that President Kagame has previously deployed Rwandan troops to assist in mitigating unrest in Mozambique and the Central African Republic. With France’s withdrawal of troops from Mali due to ongoing disputes with the ruling junta, and the instability in Burkina Faso, Western partners have shifted their focus to aid coastal nations situated along the Gulf of Guinea. The aim is to prevent the southward spread of the Sahel’s Islamist insurgency.

Benin, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire have already experienced attacks in border areas, attributed to jihadists. Meanwhile, Ghana has recently increased its military presence along its northern frontier. Kagame made these promises of support during a two-day state visit to Benin, where he and President Patrice Talon signed nine bilateral agreements.

During this visit, Kagame also expressed concerns about Russia’s presence in Africa. He stated that Russia, or any other major power, should not be a problem for Africa. He emphasized that Russia has the right to be in Africa, legally, just as any other country has the right to be anywhere. This highlights the complex geopolitical situation in the region and the importance of collaborative efforts to address the growing threat of jihadist conflict in West Africa.

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