France halts joint military operations with Malian forces
June 4, 2021 - France is halting joint military operations with local troops in Mali in a bid to restore a civilian-led government following the second coup in nine months.
On May 25, Mali’s military strongman, Colonel Assimi Goïta, ousted the country’s civilian president and prime minister. After that, the West African grouping Ecowas and the African Union (AU) suspended Mali from their bodies.
France has around 5,100 troops waging counter-insurgency operations against Islamist militants in the Sahel region under its Barkhane operation which spans five countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
The Barkhane force, which was launched after France intervened to fend off a jihadist advance in Mali in 2013, will continue to operate but on its own for the moment, the ministry said.
However the French-led Takuba force, launched in March 2020 to enable European special forces to train Mali’s army to fight jihadists, will be suspended.
While France has hailed some success in recent months, the situation is extremely fragile and Paris has increasingly grown frustrated with no end in sight to its operations.