French forces prepare to close bases in Mali
By Abiodun Ogundairo
17 October 2021 | 4:12 pm
We head to northern Mali, where French forces are preparing to close a base used by the Barkhane force as France decides to reduce its presence in the country. Also, Botswana's court of appeal starts hearing a government attempt to overturn a landmark ruling that decriminalised homosexuality in 2019. And Cape Verde gears up for elections, with the revival of the tourism industry a key campaign issue.
We focus on the situation in Mali, where a full withdrawal of French troops fighting Islamist separatists is thought to be imminent. French President Emmanuel Macron has been meeting with African and European counterparts during a dinner in Paris. He is expected to confirm the decision to leave Mali later this week.
France announces Mali withdrawal after decade-long jihadist fight. PARIS: France announced on Thursday that it was withdrawing its troops from Mali after a breakdown in relations with the country's ruling junta, ending a near 10-year deployment against jihadist groups that pose a growing threat in West Africa.
Europe and Africa already had more than enough in their in-tray going into their first Brussels summit in nearly eight years. Now you can add coup contagion and the pullout of French-led anti-terror forces from Mali. The day began in Paris for key players in the Sahel. Will the crisis overshadow the EU-African Union summit?
In a interview with FRANCE 24 at the EU-African Union summit in Brussels, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said the French-led troop withdrawal from Mali required "new arrangements" in the regional fight against terrorism. Akufo-Addo, who is also the current chairman of West African bloc ECOWAS, demanded the departure of "foreign mercenaries" from the region and explained that negotiations are underway with the Malian junta on an election timetable. He called the junta's proposal of a four-year transition "clearly unacceptable" and said a 12-month transition period would be "an acceptable framework", while stressing that this was not official ECOWAS position.
After French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France and its European partners are to begin a military withdrawal from Mali after more than nine years fighting a jihadist insurgency, FRANCE 24 speaks to Belgium's prime minister. Alexander De Croo calls the French-led pullout "unfortunate" and insists it is "important to not break any ties with Mali. We are very concerned about the political developments, but the moment you break ties, we don't have any influence anymore. It's important for the Sahel region to get stabilised."
In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 and its sister radio station Radio France Internationale (RFI), Mali’s Prime Minister Choguel Maiga said that since 2012, French authorities have tried to divide his country by fueling autonomy claims in the north. Maiga said it is clear Paris has never deemed the ruling junta government as legitimate, and claims it was “preparing a plan” to overthrow it.
Former French colony Mali recently expelled the French ambassador and asked the French military to withdraw. The Yerewolo movement would like to cut ties entirely — and move closer toward Russia.
Human Rights Watch says that Mali's military has killed dozens of people in its crackdown on extremists. Jihadist groups are also accused of ramping up violence since December. Abuses on both sides may amount to war crimes. Plus, women from sub-Saharan Africa who live in Tunisia often struggle to be accepted and many migrants face racism. And we take a look at Uganda's only licensed cannabis farm, which grows only for export as use of the crop is still illegal in the country.
Former French colony Mali recently expelled the French ambassador and demanded the withdrawal of the French military. At the same time, the anti-colonialist Yerewolo movement is moving closer to Russia.
The EU will wind down some operations due to continued cooperation between Russian mercenaries and Mali's junta. But the EU says it remains committed to the region.
It was market day in Moura, a remote town in central Mali, when witnesses said Malian troops backed by Russian mercenaries descended in helicopters and opened fire on bewildered residents.
In late March, the Malian armed forces and suspected Russian mercenaries allegedly executed about 300 people in Moura, a village in central Mali. Human Rights Watch opened an investigation into the matter, calling it a massacre. In order to discredit these findings, photos online claim to show hundreds of weapons belonging to civilians, seized by the Malian army. However, the photos have nothing to do with the current situation in Moura. We tell you more in this edition of Truth or Fake.
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