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Macron worries troubled African countries may succumb to “Islamist extremism”

French President Emmanuel Macron has threatened to withdraw French troops from Mali if the country’s political turmoil leads to more Islamic extremism. The announcement comes nine months after Mali had its second military coup.

Since 2013, the French military has supported Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Chad to fight against armed groups in the Sahel area.

The French president told the newspaper Journal du Manche that he had warned regional leaders that France would not support countries with no legitimacy or a democratic transition of power. He reminded that the European potency has no intention of retaining its military in Africa indefinitely.

For decades, France has provided military backing to the leaders of its former African colonies, and it frequently dispatches troops to those countries to conduct airstrikes against armed organisations. 

In the case of Mali, the country witnessed two military coups in less than nine months, both led by Hashemi Gueta. In the second coup, the Constitutional Court of Mali recognised Gueta as interim president last Friday, two days after he seized control. The current leader promises to appoint a new prime minister for the country in the next few days.

It is difficult to implement rapid reforms in the African country, landlocked and suffering from acute poverty in huge sections. French forces helped liberate territory held by the militants, but attacks continue amid the militants’ exploitation of the ongoing political turmoil in the region.

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