Malian youth are openly calling for the total withdrawal of French troops from their country over what they referred to as a “pretense to be fighting terrorism” in the country. This call was amplified by the decision by authorities in the West African country to sign a side deal with a Russian mercenary group, Wagner to deploy nearly one thousand soldiers to help fight insurgency in the region.
In a dramatic twist, French President Emmanuel Macron had just announced that his soldiers killed the leader of the Islamic group terrorizing the Sahel. “Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, leader of the Islamic State terrorist group in Grand Sahara, has been neutralized by French forces. This is another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel.” Macron said.
The announcement which was published on the President’s official social media platform attracted several criticisms from African youth, especially Malians. Some hold the view in verifiable comments that the swift action by the French (if true) was informed by the pending deal with Russia’s Wagner and that the French soldiers worsened security situations in the region.
Recall that, a similar call was made in June this year by a group of protestors who trooped to the streets to demand the exit of France from Mali. “I would be so happy, like at a party, if France quit Mali today. Really. Ever since we trusted them with our security, everything has become worse.” A local resident identified as Bakary Coulibaly, told reporters during the protest.