French troops leave Timbuktu region

Mali: French troops leave Timbuktu region

French military forces in Timbuktu have left the region after spending nine years helping Malian troops retake the city from Islamist insurgents.

France has gradually reduced its anti-terrorism operation in northern Mali, despite the persistent threat from jihadists.

On Tuesday, a French General handed a symbolic wooden key to a Malian officer before his troops withdrew from their base.

The withdrawal had a high symbolic value because it was there that former French President François Hollande formalized the start of French military intervention in 2013.

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French relations with the Malian government have deteriorated since last year’s military coup and several anti-France protests in the West African country.

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