Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz

PARIS, France —The African nation of Mauritania has appointed the commander who will take responsibility for operations in the western zone overseen by the regional G5 Sahel anti-jihadist force, as it wrapped up its second operation.

In an announcement, Mauritania said Colonel Salem Vall Ould Isselmou will lead operations in Mauritania and in some parts of Mali for the G5 Sahel Force made up of military troops from five countries in Africa’s Sahel region.

Mauritania’s local media has reported that the force’s operations under Ould Isselmou will be based in Nbeikit, a city in Mauritania.

The G5 Sahel force tasked with defeating and dislodging Islamic jihadists in the region comprises military contingents from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Mali, and Niger.

According to several reports, the G5 Sahel countries have all been hit by jihadist attacks that began by Boko Haram in Nigeria, claiming thousands of lives, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, weakening local economies and threatening food security.

The G5 Sahel force collaborates with France’s 4,000 troops, deployed across the Sahel, and the UN’s 12,000-strong MINUSMA peacekeeping operation in Mali.

With French backing, the G5 Sahel Force has re-established some major control in lawless frontier regions south of the Sahara, where terror groups have been able to flourish in the past years