Guest blogger Alex Thurston says that in the wake of 9 recent kidnappings, Europe is increasing its police and security presence in Africa's Sahel region affected by Al Qaeda's local affiliate.
At several points, including recently, the French military has participated directly in some efforts to rescue kidnapping victims in the Sahel. European countries have also attended some of the recent meetings on Sahelian security. But this effort looks like it will be a more lasting European security presence in the region affected by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM):
The European Union plans to send a team of police and security experts to the region on the southern edge of Africa’s Sahara desert to help governments there combat a growing threat from al Qaeda, Britain’s foreign minister said on Monday.
“We are stepping up our efforts to counter terrorism in the Sahel region and to support economic and political development,” said [William] Hague, who last month became the first British minister to visit Mauritania.