Commander-in-Chief, G5 Sahel Joint Force
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On 7 June, Didier Dacko was appointed as the first commander of the new joint G5 Sahel military force, aimed at improving the co-ordination of development and security policies in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Mali and Niger. Its mission is to fight terrorism and illicit trafficking, especially in communities along Mali’s borders and those of the other G5 Sahel states. Before his nomination, Dacko had been the Malian Defence Chief of Staff since June 2016.  Born in 1967 in San, an urban commune in the Segou region of Mali, Dacko started his military training as part of the first class of cadets from the Kati Military School, now known as the Koulikoro Military School. After his training, Didier Dacko built his career by occupying several military positions including:  deputy military cmmander (1991 to 1992), instructor at the Koulikoro Military School (1995 to 1996), United Nations observer in Sierra Leone (2003 to 2004) and commandant of the Gao military regiment (2010 to 2012). Didier Dacko is known for his hands-on attitude and military strategy finesse, which was important for his position as the commandant of Operation Badenko (2011 to 2013), the military expedition in northern Mali that led to the successful recapture of areas previously occupied by jihadists. Dacko is a recipient of numerous accolades including the United Nations Medal (2004), the Cross of Military Valour in Mali (2008), Grand Officer of the National Order of Mali and the National Defence Medal of France (2014).