France completes withdrawal from Mali

Jeremy Binney

The last helicopter hangar at the French base in The Hague has been removed (photo published on August 7). (Armée Française – Operation Barkhane)

The French military announced on August 15 the completion of its withdrawal from Mali, saying the last unit from its main base in Gao had crossed into Niger earlier that day.

It said the “major logistical task” had been completed less than six months after President Emmanuel Macron ordered it on February 17, and stressed it remained committed to fighting terrorism in the Sahel in close cooperation with by their African partners.

The decision to withdraw from Mali was prompted by successive coups in Bamako in 2020 and 2021 and the decision of the military-led transitional government to turn to Russia for support. Meanwhile, there is growing public dissatisfaction with the French military presence and perceived lack of progress against the various militant groups operating in Mali since the 2013 intervention to stabilize the country.

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