UN seeks to put human rights experts into new Sahel force

The United Nations is seeking to put human rights advisers and monitors into the 5,000-troop African force that is charged with fighting extremists in western Africa's vast Sahel region.

Assistant Secretary-General Andrew Gilmour, the deputy human rights chief who recently visited Mali, told several reporters Friday that he told senior military officials from the five troop-contributing countries that protecting human rights "can help unlock" funding for the force.

The five nations — Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad — have been grappling with a growing menace from extremists, including the Islamic State group, Boko Haram and groups linked to al-Qaida's North Africa branch.

Gilmour said his office is preparing proposals for the force on protecting human rights which it hopes to send in the next few days,