French President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to commence closure of Military bases in Northern part of Mali by the end of this year to help focus attention on countries in the Gulf region. Currently, France has about 5,100 troops fighting Islamist groups in the region.
Military bases in areas such as Kidal, Tessalit et Tombouctou which serve as key sectors in the fight against armed groups in the Sahel region will be closed in the initial stages.
“The shutdowns of these sections will start in the second half of 2021 and be completed by early 2022,” the president said in a press conference whilst adding that about 2,500 to 3,000 military personnel will remain in the Sahel region for the long run.
“Our enemies have abandoned their territorial ambitions in favor of spreading their threat not only across the Sahel but across all of West Africa … unfortunately this offensive implies increased pressure on all the Gulf of Guinea countries, which is already a reality…We are going to reorganize ourselves in line with this need to stop this spread to the south, and it will lead to a reduction of our military footprint in the north,” he further explains.
France, the former colonist earlier suspended military operations in Mali, explaining that, it had “decided to suspend, as a precaution and temporarily, joint military operations with the Malian forces, as well as national advisory missions that benefit them.”
The suspension saw the withdrawal of French soldiers from the West African country; However, this suspension was called off just this Friday, July second, 2021 by the French armed forces ministry which stated that the country has “decided to resume joint military operations as well as national advisory missions, which had been suspended since June 3.”