independent

Friday 25 April 2014

France to leave Mali 'next month'

Malian soldiers patrol the streets of Gao (AP)

France may start pulling out its troops from Mali at the end of next month.

At a cabinet meeting president Francois Hollande confirmed that if all goes as planned, "by the end of March the number of French troops engaged in Mali can begin to diminish."

A spokeswoman said the pullout will depend on an increase in the deployment of African forces, who are meant to take over the international effort to secure Mali and help its weak army keep the peace.

Mr Hollande, fearing Mali was becoming a haven for international terrorists, launched a French military intervention on January 11 against Islamist extremists who had started moving toward the capital.

Press Association

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