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Mali’s interim prime minister, Choguel Maïga, has accused France of ‘abandoning’ the country ‘mid-flight’ after the European country opted to reduce its troops there by up to half their initial numbers.
Africa Today News, New York recalls that in June, France announced that the counter-terrorism mission it leads in the Sahel – Operation Barkhane – will see its numbers crash from 5,100 to 2,500-3,000 over the next few months.
Speaking at the UN general assembly in New York yesterday, Mr Maïga criticised the ‘unilateral announcement’, adding that it ‘leads us to explore pathways and means to better ensure our security autonomously, or with other partners’.
This has been interpreted as a reference to Mali reportedly asking Russian mercenaries to train its military and boost national security, despite recent reports of abuses by Russian mercenaries elsewhere in the continent – most recently the Central African Republic.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK