The meeting marks the first time Sahel allies have gathered physically since the start of the coronavirus crisis [Ludovic Marin/Reuters]

Leaders from five Sahelian countries and French President Emmanuel Macron have met in Mauritania’s capital, Nouakchott, to discuss how to reduce attacks in a region plagued by escalating violence and a worsening humanitarian situation.

Macron said on Tuesday troops from his country and the G5 Sahel bloc of nations – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – were having military success against armed groups in the Sahel, a semi-arid region directly south of the Sahara desert in northwest and central Africa.

“We are convinced that victory is possible in the Sahel, and that it is decisive for stability in Africa and Europe,”

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