Mali, Burkina Faso leaders agree to strengthen military cooperation
Mali and Burkina Faso look to "better examine and strengthen" their military partnership.
The leaders of Mali and Burkina Faso's military governments have agreed to strengthen their military cooperation, concluding a meeting in Bamako, Mali, according to a Burkinabe presidency in a statement to AFP.
Burkina Faso's Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba and Mali's Colonel Assimi Goita agreed to "better examine and strengthen" their military partnership.
"The two countries... intend to pool their efforts in the fight against terrorism", the statement said.
In another statement, Mali confirmed the agreement.
The two leaders, discussed the contingent of Ivorian soldiers currently detained in Mali accused o being mercenaries, according to the Burkinabe presidency.
In mid-August, the last soldiers from France's Barkhane operation in Mali left the African country as per the French chiefs of staff.
The army had met the "major military logistics challenge" of the pullout "in an orderly and safe fashion," it added.
Two days after withdrawal, Mali demanded an emergency UN Security Council meeting to make an end to what it calls French "acts of aggression", including claimed espionage and violations of sovereignty.
At its peak, France's Barkhane mission included 5,100 troops from five former French colonies in the Sahel region: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.
The forces have played critical roles in air power, troop transport, and reconnaissance. France has an air base in Niamey, Niger's capital, where drones are stationed.
Following the Malian withdrawal, the mission will have "around 2,500" troops, according to Barkhane Commander General Laurent Michon last month.
According to French sources, Paris will keep over 1,000 troops in Niger alongside local forces.
French troops are also stationed in Gabon, Ivory Coast, and Senegal, as well as in Djibouti in the east of Africa.
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