[QODLink]
Africa

France to cut troop numbers in Mali

French president says "mission accomplished" in Mali and announces troop reductions starting February.

Last updated: 09 Jan 2014 02:33
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The French intervention in Mali has been hailed for stopping armed groups and Tuareg rebels [AFP]

France will cut its troops in Mali to 1,600 by the middle of February from the current level of 2,500, President Francois Hollande has said.

Speaking at an airbase in Creil in northern France on Wednesday, Hollande said the "situation is well under control" in Mali, where the "key objectives of the mission have been accomplished".

"The troop size will be reduced from about 2,500 at present to 1,600 and then to 1,000, which is the number necessary to fight any threat that might resurface as these terrorist groups are still present in northern Mali," the president said.

He also announced that France plans to use two unarmed Reaper drones to survey the region.

France launched Operation Serval in its former colony in January 11 last year to repel the advance of al-Qaeda linked armed groups following a coup. At the height of the operation, 5,000 troops were deployed.

A UN mission also deployed more than 12,000 troops.  

The French intervention sought to stop armed groups and Tuareg rebels from advancing on the capital, Bamako.

The armed groups that once controlled northern Mali are believe to have been killed, or dispersed elsewhere in the Sahel region, notably to southern Libya.

199

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.