France withdraws last soldiers from Mali amid jihadist resurgence
Gao was once a French army base operating 24/7, but now an eerie silence has fallen. With the departure of the very last logistics transport of 150 vehicles, the only ones left in the camp are the elite units, who will depart in the utmost secrecy.
French troops have supported Mali against insurgents for nearly a decade, but President Emmanuel Macron decided to pull out after relations between France and Mali deteriorated following a military coup in August 2020.
Despite the elimination of prominent jihadist leaders in the area, France’s withdrawal comes as terrorist violence once again threatens the capital Bamako and spreads far beyond the Sahel.
“Yesterday, a delegation from the Malian army came to lay out the base. They are preparing to take over, but to tell you what tomorrow will bring for them, I don’t know,” said a French paratrooper.
A few hours later, a group of attack helicopters ensure that the last soldiers of the Barkhane Operation leave Gao safely. After nine years of involvement and support for local troops, there is not a single French soldier left in Mali.
Click on the video player above to view the report.