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Mali asks Denmark to immediately withdraw French-led troops

A soldier from the new Takuba force stands with a Malian soldier during a patrol near Niger border in Dansongo Circle, Mali August 23, 2021.(Photo by Reuters)

Mali says it has asked Denmark to immediately withdraw troops deployed to the West African nation as part of a French-led force because it was not consulted and the deployment failed to follow protocol.

In a statement, the government said it "notes with astonishment the deployment on its territory of a contingent of Danish special forces".

It asked Denmark to immediately withdraw the troops.

"The government underlines that this deployment took place without its consent, and without consideration of the additional protocol applicable to European partners," the statement added.

A French mission began in Mali in 2013 with the purported aim of countering militants linked to al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorist groups. France, a former colonizer of Africa, also deployed thousands of soldiers to presumably prevent separatist forces from reaching Mali’s capital, Bamako.

In December, it withdrew from northern Mali and the historic city of Timbuktu nine years after launching a war without the initial approval of the United Nations or even the French parliament.

The war caused several thousand deaths and more than a million people to flee their homes.

The withdrawal came amid growing demonstrations against France’s military presence in Mali which has been racked by two military coups in little over a year.

President Emmanuel Macron's office said on Sunday that a French officer had been killed in a mortar attack on France’s main military base in northern Mali the day before.

France has been one of the world’s colonizing countries that after many years of slavery still controls countries spread over more than 12 territories and treats their people as second-class citizens.

It has had more than 50 military interventions in Africa since 1960, when many of its former colonies gained nominal independence. Mali remains among the poorest countries in the world, but that’s not due to a lack of resources.

France currently has 5,100 troops in the arid and volatile Sahel region. Under a new plan, they will be reduced to 2,500-3,000 troops. Analysts say it is premature to call it the end of France's military intervention in Africa, believing Paris is only readjusting its post-colonial plans. 

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