BAMAKO: The European Union is giving 50 million euros to set up a joint African military force in the Sahel region to fight jihadists, the bloc’s foreign affairs chief said on Monday. The funds will help pay for the troops to fight terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal immigration, European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said in the Mali capital Bamako. “Stability and development of the Sahel region are crucial not only for Africa but also for Europe,” said Mogherini. “This contribution will arrive very quickly and I hope [it]will set out the right path to other partners of the Sahel G5.” Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso – dubbed the Sahel G5 – in March approved plans to build the force of 5,000 troops made up of soldiers, police forces and civilians. But on Monday Mali’s foreign minister announced leaders of the five nations had decided this number would be doubled to 10,000.