People enter the G5 Sahel forceأ•s new military headquarters in Sevare, in central Mali October 22, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron Ross
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The recently launched G-5 Sahel force must ensure human rights are respected as it combats militants and criminals in this troubled swath of Africa, officials say, to avoid any further radicalization of the population. The five-nation counterterrorism force has completed its first operation in a zone covering the border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, all of which face an Islamist insurgency that has tacit support in areas where a state presence is near absent.Andrew Gilmour, U.N. assistant secretary-general for human rights, said abuses under the guise of counterterror "create more terrorists than there were before". The viability of the force rested on its ability to gain the trust of local populations and maintain the support of the international community, he said while visiting Mali to meet force commander Didier Dacko.Priority No. 1 for the G-5 force is to re-establish authority in the Burkina-Mali-Niger border region, according to Gen. Dacko, speaking at the force's headquarters in Sevare.
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