Mali asks France to withdraw its soldiers “without delay

The ruling junta in Bamako asked France to “withdraw its soldiers from Mali without delay”, earning a rebuff from President Emmanuel Macron, the day after the latter announced a phased withdrawal over the coming months.
In a statement read on national television, the spokesman for the military-installed government, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, called the announcement of the French disengagement a “flagrant violation” of agreements between the two countries. He also said that the results of nine years of French involvement in Mali “have not been satisfactory.
“In view of these repeated failures (to) defense agreements, the government invites the French authorities to withdraw, without delay, the Barkhane and Takuba forces from the national territory, under the supervision of the Malian authorities,” says Colonel Maiga.
France will withdraw “in good order” and will not compromise for a second on the safety of its soldiers, Macron replied.
The demand for immediate withdrawal by the colonels who came to power by force in August 2020 is a new challenge to the former French partner, after months of escalating tensions.
Some 2,400 French troops are deployed in Mali, out of a total of 4,600 in the Sahel. The disengagement of these men, the dismantling of their bases, as well as the evacuation of equipment, including hundreds of armored vehicles, was already a colossal and dangerous undertaking in itself.

About Geraldine Boechat 2142 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia