French forces pack up in Mali for Sahel pullout,

After nine years deployed in Mali, France is organising a drawdown, with troops preparing to leave the last of three bases in the far north of the insurgency-hit and poverty-wracked country. […]

French President Emmanuel Macron announced a major drawdown of French troops in June and is hoping other EU forces will step up to support what he sees as an essential counter-terror mission keeping Europe safe.

”We were around 5,000 soldiers in the Sahel in summer 2021. We will be around 3,000 in summer 2022,” said General Laurent Michon, who commands the French military mission in the Sahel known as Barkhane.

New reductions are expected by 2023. […]

But Paris also faces increasing difficulties on the ground including with local people who resent the presence of soldiers from the former colonial power, as well as new regimes in partner countries. Protests that were once isolated to urban centres have spread to rural areas, fanned by social media and anger at the ever-worsening violence, as well as highly-publicised incidents of troops mistakenly killing civilians.

In November, protesters in Burkina Faso and Niger hampered a large French military supply convoy travelling from Ivory Coast to Mali. Some threw stones and held signs saying ”Down with France”. Ligger på sajten