Mali’s transitional government reacted on Friday to the withdrawal of the last French soldiers from the country on August 15. The Barkhane force had been operating in the country for nine years to help the local army counter terrorist groups. But relations between Bamako and Paris have steadily deteriorated since the two military coups of August 2020 and May 2021.
“The Transitional Government has taken note of the effective departure of the French Barkhane force from Malian territory since August 15, 2022. As a reminder, France decided unilaterally on June 10, 2021, to withdraw the Barkhane force from Mali by adopting a timetable without consult the Malian authorities, to which he was bound by defense agreements.”, said news presenter Awa Mah Camara, on national television. The journalist was reading a document published by the military government in which he also promised the population that their security would not be altered by this departure and on the contrary would improve considerably. “The Transitional Government takes note of this definitive withdrawal of the Barkhane force and reassures the Malian population that, thanks to the rise in power of the brave Malian forces, more successes will be recorded against terrorist groups”, read Awa Mah Camara.
Ties with France have also deteriorated due to the growing presence of Russian soldiers, instructors and weapons in the country since last December. In a letter to the Chinese presidency of the UN Security Council sent on August 15, Mali’s foreign minister accused France of arming jihadist groups and “frequently violating” the country’s airspace.