French and West African heads of states paid tribute Monday to French soldiers killed in Mali, in a symbolic ceremony ahead of a summit aimed at fighting escalating extremist attacks in Africa's Sahel region.
France now deploys some 4,500 troops in the region, according to the media report.
The leaders expressed their "gratitude for the crucial support provided by the United States" and their wish for its "continuity", while the Pentagon has just announced its intention to reduce the sails in Africa.
Salif Keita, one of Mali's most popular singers, urged President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in a Facebook video a year ago to stop "subjecting yourself to little Emmanuel Macron - he's just a kid".
"Today, more than ever, the fact is that the results, despite the effort, are below the expectations of the population", Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Kabore told a joint news conference.
Chief of staff General Ahmed Mohamed led the army for more than two years, a period marked by a steep rise in attacks by fighters linked to ISIL and al-Qaeda that culminated in a raid on a remote army base on Thursday that killed at least 89 soldiers.
France's Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly on Saturday echoed similar concerns about this growing French hostility.
Another 220 French troops will be sent to give fresh momentum to the fight with more European special forces expected to join in the coming months, he said.
"This new framework will take the form and name of a "Coalition for the Sahel", bringing together the countries of the G5 Sahel, France - through Operation Barkhane", the statement said. Soldiers worked alongside Malian and other African troops to try to repel the terrorists, with the United Nations Security Council supporting the need for member nations to assist Mali. Another French military action killed 33 extremists in central Mali. It was France's worst military loss in almost four decades.
Leaders also issued a plea to US President Donald Trump to not withdraw US military support from the region.
Will this be adequate to split the characteristics of armed teams which, through the entire previous 12 months, have actually proceeded their particular neighborhood origins and inflicted unprecedented losings regarding the armies of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, also to your blue helmets of Minusma as well as the French associated with Barkhane power?