The last soldiers belonging to France’s Barkhane operation in Mali have now left the African country, the French chiefs of staff said on Monday, IgbereTV reports
French forces have been supporting Mali against insurgents for nearly a decade, but President Emmanuel Macron decided to pull out after France and the Malian junta fell out in the wake of a military takeover.
“Today at 13H00 Paris time (1100 GMT) the final contingent of the Barkhane force still on Malian territory crossed the border between Mali and Niger,” the statement said.
The army had met the “major military logistics challenge” of the pull-out “in an orderly and safe fashion”, it added.
After ties ruptured between Paris and the junta that took power in Mali in August 2020, France began to withdraw its troops in February, as jihadist violence surged in the Sahel.
Friction developed over the junta’s delays in restoring civilian rule and escalated when Mali brought in Russian paramilitaries — personnel described by France as “mercenaries” from the pro-Kremlin Wagner group