France to reduce Mali troops by 60%

French soldiers in northern Mali (file photo)

French soldiers in northern Mali (file photo)
Wed Jan 1, 2014 1:50AM GMT

The French defense minister says the country will reduce the number of its troops in Mali in the next three months by 60%.[Full story]

Jean-Yves Le Drian, who visited Mali on Tuesday at the start of a tour of Africa, said 1,000 troops would be left in the West African country by the end of March.

On January 11, 2013, France launched a war in Mali under the pretext of halting the advance of rebel fighters in the country.

The 1,000 French soldiers left in Mali will fight the rebel groups in the widespread deserts in the northern parts of the country.

“We will remain by the side of the Malian army, and also MINUSMA (the UN forces), for as long as it takes,” Le Drian said.

Chaos broke out in Mali after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.

However, in the wake of the coup d’état, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region, but the Ansar Dine extremists then pushed them aside and took control of the region, which is larger than France or Texas.

France has intensified crisis in CAR: Analyst

Christian militiamen pose in the mountains near the CAR capital Bangui on December 29, 2013.

Christian militiamen pose in the mountains near the CAR capital Bangui on December 29, 2013.
Sun Dec 29, 2013

French intervention in the Central African Republic has intensified the crisis in the country, a political analyst tells Press TV.

Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of Pan African News Wire from Detroit, said on Sunday that the intervention by France and its ally Chad has “worsened the political and social situation,” in CAR.


“France has alienated a large segment of the population there. There have been demonstrations over the last seven days against France and their role inside the capital of Bangui and other areas of the country,” Azikiwe said.


The Analyst also accused France of being after its “national interests,” rather than normalizing the situation in CAR.


“They are there to advance their own national interest in relationship to the ruling interests in France but at the same time creating an untenable situation in various African countries,” he said.


[Full Story at link above]