The current French operation has been running since 2014, co-ordinating on security issues with Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.
They are fighting a complex web of jihadist groups that Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou has described as having become “professionals in the art of war”.
An attack by jihadists on an army base earlier this month led to the deaths of more than 70 soldiers in Niger.
In November, 13 French troops died in a helicopter collision during an operation against jihadists in Mali, the biggest single loss of life for the French military since the 1980s.
Regional leaders have called for more international support to tackle the militants but there has also been rising anti-French sentiment and protests in some cities in the region.
In Niger, there has been a sharp rise in attacks by militants in 2019. And the number of fatalities in neighboring Mali has more than doubled over the past year.
West Africa: Is France losing ground to militants?https://t.co/DGXkT0CWTJ
— Individual-1 (@codename_karla) December 23, 2019