France and EU announce military withdrawal from Mali

 France has about 4,300 troops in the Sahel region, including 2,400 in Mali. The so-called Barkhane force is also involved in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania.

Published: 17th February 2022 03:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th February 2022 03:54 PM   |  A+A-

French soldiers secure the evacuation of foreigners during exchanges of fire with jihadists in Gao, northern Mali ( Photo | AP)

French soldiers secure the evacuation of foreigners during exchanges of fire with jihadists in Gao, northern Mali ( Photo | AP)

By PTI

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron says France will withdraw its troops from Mali but maintain a military presence in neighbouring West African nations.

Announcing the move during a Thursday news conference in Paris, Macron said, "We cannot remain militarily involved alongside Malian transitional authorities with whom we don't share the strategy and goals."

 France has about 4,300 troops in the Sahel region, including 2,400 in Mali. The so-called Barkhane force is also involved in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania.

European leaders simultaneously announced Thursday that troops from the European-led military task force known as Takuba also would withdraw from Mali. The Takuba task force is composed of several hundred special forces troops from about a dozen European countries, including France.

Tensions have grown between Mali, its African neighbours, and the European Union, especially after the West African country's transitional government allowed Russian mercenaries to deploy in its territory.

French Barkhane force soldiers ( Photo | AP)

French forces have been active since 2013 in Mali, where they intervened to drive Islamic extremists from power. But the insurgents regrouped in the desert and began attacking the Malian army and its allies.

Macron said support for civilians in Mali would continue, but he blamed the junta now ruling the country for its decision to hire a private Russian military contractor known as the Wagner Group that the EU accuses of fomenting violence and committing human rights abuses in Africa.

Macron said a coalition of allies will remain present in Sahel and the Guinea Gulf to counter actions from Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. He said the fight against terrorism in the region requires "steadiness and tenacity."

 The announcements followed Macron's Wednesday night meeting with African and European leaders involved in the fight against Islamic extremists in the Sahel region. The Mali and Burkina Faso coup leaders were not invited since both nations were suspended from the African Union.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp