News June 30, 2021 at 04:30 pm

Mali: Protesters call for French troops to leave West African nation

Nii Ntreh June 30, 2021 at 04:30 pm

June 30, 2021 at 04:30 pm | News

FILE PHOTO - France has resolved to keep in place troops who have been in the troubled Sahel region for about a decade. Photo Credit: Dominique Faget via AFP

Mali activists organized a demonstration against the French military presence in Bamako on June 25, 2021, demanding for a complete departure of French troops from the nation. Some carried Russian flags and placards urging Mali and Russia to work together more closely.

The political fringe group ‘Yerewolo Debouts sur les remparts’ organized a comparatively low demonstration. After heavy rains earlier in the day, attendance was fewer than organizers had planned.

Following an attack on soldiers participating in a United Nations mission in Mali, Germany’s defense minister said that 12 German troops and one soldier from another nation had been wounded. A car bomb was aimed at a temporary operating base in the Gao area, according to the UN mission in the country, MINUSMA. 15 peacekeepers were wounded. Hundreds of German troops are stationed in the West African country as part of UN stability and European Union training operations.

Since 2012, Mali has been fighting an insurrection led by Islamic extremists. The junta’s leaders have faced criticism from France and the African Union after a military coup in Mali last year. Mali has been fighting a jihadist insurgency that began in the north of the nation in 2012 and expanded to the center, as well as Burkina Faso and Niger.

Mali’s former colonial ruler, France, initially engaged in 2013 to assist Mali to push Islamist troops out of Bamako. As part of its anti-jihadist force Barkhane, it currently has 5,100 soldiers stationed across Africa’s dry Sahel region.

However, social media and civic leaders continue to criticize France’s military intervention in Mali. Activists also hold protests against French troops in Bamako on a regular basis. When many villagers in the town of Bounti stated that around 20 people were killed in a wedding party by a helicopter attack earlier this year, the involvement of the French troops was brought to light. It happened on January 3, they added, near where French soldiers claimed they used a fighter plane to carry out an attack on terrorists.

The French military has claimed that it targeted militants, leaving out any prospect of error. After eight years, France’s counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel area of West Africa will be scaled back, according to President Emmanuel Macron. The current 5,100-strong task force will be merged into a larger multinational operation, according to the president of the former colonizers.

French soldiers have been fighting extremists in Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso as well. The French have been important to many territorial gains but calls continue to ring for them to leave.

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