French will start to pull out of Mali in April
‘France to start Mali pullout in April’
Wed, 06 Mar 2013 21:43:08 GMT
French President Francois Hollande says the country’s troops will start withdrawing from Mali as of April.
The French war in Mali “will last through March and from April there will be a decrease in the number of French soldiers in Mali as African forces will take over supported by the Europeans,” Hollande said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, according to a statement issued by Hollande’s office, a sergeant from the 68th African Artillery Regiment lost his life earlier in the day in clashes with local fighters some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Malian city of Gao.
Around 4,000 French troops have been deployed to Mali since France launched a war on the Western African country on January 11 under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters who had taken control of northern Mali.
The French-led war in Mali has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in the northern areas of the country and has displaced thousands of people, who now live in deplorable conditions.
On February 1, Amnesty International condemned “serious human rights breaches” including the killing of “three children” in the French war in Mali.
The rights organization said there was “evidence that at least five civilians, including three children, were killed in an airstrike” carried out by French forces against the local fighters.