France President, Emmanuel Macron has warned that France would withdraw troops from West African nation, Mali, following the country’s second military coup in just nine months.
France has 5,100 troops in the Sahel region and has helped in the war against Islamist militancy but Macron has warned of the risk of Mali “moving towards” greater Islamist influence if there is no democratic government in place.
For decades France has provided military support to its former colonies in Africa, but has told regional leaders that France had no intention of keeping its troops in Africa forever.
Macron is also annoyed by a lack of commitment from other European countries to fight the multiple militant Islamist groups in the region as Europe could be affected by possible jihadist attacks on the continent and illegal migration.
On Tuesday last week France and the European Union denounced an “unacceptable coup d’etat” after Mali’s interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were detained and stripped of their power.
Coup leader Colonel Assimi Goïta was then named transitional president by the constitutional court on Friday.
Macron speaking to Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper said;
“Radical Islamism in Mali with our soldiers there? Never,”
“There is this temptation today in Mali. But if it goes in that direction, I will withdraw,” he warned in comments made during a trip to Rwanda and South Africa. Macron flew home to Paris on Saturday.
The French president added that he had given a message to West African leaders that they could not back a country “where there is no longer democratic legitimacy or transition”.
Macron, in his comments published Sunday, May 30, warned that if Africa’s development fails then Europe “will pay dearly in terms of migration”.
He stressed the need to “invest massively” adding that the international community must also erase some of the continent’s debt burden “to help Africans build their future”.
By Kingsley U.