Malians celebrate French retreat by burning EU flag
Malians gather in the capital Bamako to celebrate the withdrawal of French troops. They celebrate France's departure by burning a European flag, with some demonstrators carrying placards with messages such as "Thanks Wagner" and "France is a terrorist nation". Mali's army-led government on Friday asked France to withdraw its forces from the Sahel state "without delay", calling into question Paris' plans to pull out over several months. A Malian government spokesman added in a statement announced on public television that the results of France's nine-year military engagement in the conflict-torn country were "not satisfactory". On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he was withdrawing troops from Mali after a breakdown in relations with the nation's ruling military junta. France first intervened in Mali in 2013 to combat a jihadist insurgency that emerged one year prior. It currently has around 4,600 troops stationed across the Sahel, 2,400 of them in Mali.