‘Everything Has Become Worse’: Mali Protests Demand French Troops Leave as Operation Barkhane Ends

Africa

A protest by a popular group took place in the Malian capital of Bamako demanding French troops leave the country. The protest comes as hundreds of French troops are slated to stay in Mali even as France’s Operation Barkhane comes to a close.

The Friday protest by Yerewolo – Debout sur Les Remparts (The Worthy Sons – Standing on the Ramparts) demanded French troops leave the Sahelian nation, where they have been fighting Islamist rebel groups since 2013. The group has been a consistently anti-French voice in Malian politics for years.

Pape Diallo, a spokesperson for Yerewolo – Debout sur Les Remparts, told the outlet that an incident last week in which 12 German peacekeepers in the country as part of the United Nations mission MINUSMA were wounded in an ambush was ultimately the fault of the French.

“There are injured Germans, that has saddened us because Germany here is not seen as an occupying force,” Diallo said. “But they are being manipulated by the French, in fact. Germany came here with good intentions to protect us from terrorists, but today they find themselves inside the Machiavellian schemes of France.”

France, the former colonial power that ruled Mali until 1960, sent troops to fight Tuareg tribes rebelling against Bamako in 2013 at the request of the Malian government under the aegis of Operation Serval. A coup d’etat against the government of Amadou Toumani Touré in 2012 by soldiers mutinying over the poor conduct of…

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