[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
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
Remnants of deadly demonstrations to be displayed in a new museum, a year after protests pushed president out of power.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.