France is halting joint military operations with Mali during last week’s coup in the West African country. She said the suspension will continue until she receives guarantees on a return to the civilian government in Mali French forces have been supporting troops from Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso to fight militants in the Sahel region.
On May 25, Mali’s military strongman, Colonel Assimi Goïta, overthrew the country’s civilian president and prime minister This week, the West African grouping Ecowas and the African Union (AU) suspended Mali from their bodies On Thursday, the French Armed Forces Ministry said that both Ecowas and the AU had established “the framework for the political transition in Mali.”
He added: “While awaiting these guarantees, France has decided to suspend, as a temporary measure, joint military operations with the Malian forces.”French troops will continue to operate there independently. The coup leader, Colonel Assimi Goïta, was appointed transitional president by the constitutional court last Friday, two days after he declared himself interim leader.
He defended the removal of President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane as necessary because they had failed in their duties and were trying to sabotage the country’s transition. Soldiers arrested and detained the two men after a cabinet shakeup that Col Goïta said he was not consulted about. He also led the coup last August, in which President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was ousted from office.
Colonel Goïta has now promised that a new prime minister will be appointed in a few days and that the elections will go ahead next year as scheduled. Why is Mali so unstable? Mali is a vast, landlocked former French colony, and large areas are poor and underdeveloped.
A coup in 2012 led Islamist militants to explode the chaos and take over the north of the country. French troops helped regain territory, but attacks have continued as insurgents have capitalized on persistent political instability in the region. All of this has led to public confidence in the army leaders’ ability to deal with the Islamist insurgency that has spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.