France and partners officially announce withdrawal from Mali
The French troops have been in Mali for nine years.
France and its European and international allies declared the end of their nine-year military counter-insurgency mission in Mali on Thursday, amid rising tensions with the country's military junta.
The Elysée published a joint statement that “Due to multiple obstructions by the Malian transitional authorities, Canada and the European States operating alongside [French] Operation Barkhane and within the Task Force Takuba [a European multinational band of special operations forces] … decided to commence the coordinated withdrawal of their respective military resources dedicated to these operations from Malian territory."
The withdrawal decision came after a Wednesday evening meeting at the Elysée with leaders from African nations, countries operating in the Sahel area, and EU representatives.
Last month, a French military base in Gao, Mali, was targeted by a rocket attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron had announced in June the reduction of the number of French troops in the Sahel region, nearly eight years after the French invasion began.
In August, Mali's Transitional President Colonel Asimi Gueta ousted the country's elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, following protests over his involvement in corruption and his handling of a terrorist insurgency.
After being pressured by France and Mali's neighbors, Gueta pledged the country would return to civilian rule in February 2022 after presidential and legislative elections were held, but he retracted afterward.
The Sahel region plunged into chaos after Al Qaeda-linked extremists seized northern Mali in 2012.
Since 2018, the violence, which was heavily concentrated on the borders of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, has killed thousands of civilians and displaced millions.