Translated from French News website Le Figaro on 03/15/16
Members of the GIGN, the elite French gendarme unit, will shortly be deployed to Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, to confront any “terrorism crisis” in Africa, announced Bernard Cazeneuve, two days after the deadly attack in Grand-Bassam.
The French Minister of Interior, as well as the head of the French diplomatic corps, Jean-Marc Ayrault, travelled to Abidjan in a show of French solidarity following the jihadist attack that resulted in 18 deaths, including four French citizens Sunday, at the seaside resort of Grand-Bassam. “As part of Barkhane’s operations, and as a result of discussions that I have had with the general director of the national police force, we have decided to position elements of the GIGN in Ouagadougou”, Bernard Cazeneuve stated.
These elements “could, in the region, in the case of an attack, rapidly intervene, bring training, bring support in instances of terrorism crises”, he added. Ouagadougou was the site of the most recent jihadist attack in January at a restaurant and a hotel, which resulted in 30 fatalities.
It took local security forces almost 45 minutes to respond to Sunday’s attack at Grand-Bassam, and it would hardly seem that French GIGN would be able to respond any faster to attacks in Dakar or any other sites in the region. Certainly, the presence of GIGN in Burkina Faso positions them as a more effective QRF than the French Special Forces troops flown in to Ouagadougou in January, but it hardly assures any more than what those Special Forces were able to accomplish in January: respond post-haste and attempt to limit the casualties, and perform SWAT operations against attackers holed up in buildings with hostages. Sunday’s attack by AQIM shows an ability to penetrate deep outside their territory, and showed an evolved set of TTPs. They attacked quickly, used boats, and did not take hostages. It is possible that the GIGN force is there to conduct law enforcement operations and seek out networks in order to not only respond to attacks, but attempt to root out sympathizers and facilitators.
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