French soldiers leave Mali’s Timbuktu

15:00 Mali : The last batch of French soldiers left Timbuktu on Tuesday after eight years of Paris intervention in the conflict torn Sahel state. 

French president Francois Hollande, back in 2013, formally declared the start of France’s military intervention designed to root out jihadist insurgents.

Mohamed Ibrahim, the former president of the Timbuktu regional council, also described the day as “joyful” and “beautiful”. 

Since 2013, Paris has deployed around 5,100 troops across the Sahel region — which includes Mali — helping to support local governments and their poorly equipped forces fight an ever-growing Islamist insurgency.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a major drawdown of French troops in June, after a military takeover in Mali in August 2020 that ousted the elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.