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Africa

Burkina attack: Macron, Kaboré want G5 anti-jihad force soon

media One of the injured is evacuated during the Ouagadougou attack Reuters/Reuters TV

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the swift launch of a five-nation African anti-terror force following Sunday's murderous attack on a restaurant in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou.

Macron spoke by phone to Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré on Monday after 18 people were killed and about 10 injured in the attack on a Turkish restaurant frequented by foreigners.

He expressed France's solidarity "in this new ordeal faced by Burkina Faso" and repeated his intention to deepen contacts between the two countries, a statement by the French presidency said.

The pair discussed efforts to identify the victims and the authors.

French prosecutors have opened an terrorism investigation after one of the victims was identified as being a French citizen and Turkey has said another was one of its nationals.

G5 Sahel force

The two presidents agreed on the "urgency of putting into practice the decisions take during the 2 July Bamako summit and speed up the launching of the G5 force", the statement announced.

The Bamako summit, which was addressed by Macron, brought together five countries - Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Niger - to discuss a military force they will set up to fight jihadism, smuggling and people trafficking in the Sahel region.

The force, which is intended to have 5,000 troops to start with, will supplement France's operation Barkhane and the UN's Minusma mission in Mali.

But it has faced problems with finance, with UN funding blocked by the US on the Security Council and Chad saying it is already overstretched by other anti-terror operations.

Macron and Kaboré will contact the leaders of the other G5 countries in the next few days to "pursue this mobilisation", the Elysée statement said.

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