Keyword: Mali

French hostage freed in Mali says detention was 'spiritual retreat'

'If you accept what is happening, it will not go too badly. If you resist, you will hurt yourself,' Sophie Pétronin said after nearly four years in captivity.

French hostage Sophie Pétronin freed after being held in Mali

French president Emmanuel Macron welcomed news of Sophie Pétronin's release as well as that of Soumaïla Cissé – a prominent Malian politician who was abducted in Mali on March 25.

France's ambassador to Ivory Coast accused of sexual harassment

By Michael Pauron
Ambassador Gilles Huberson, left, with the French and Ivory Coast ministers of the interior at Abidjan in May 2019. © ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP Ambassador Gilles Huberson, left, with the French and Ivory Coast ministers of the interior at Abidjan in May 2019. © ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched an internal inquiry into Gilles Huberson, ambassador to Ivory Coast, after several women accused him of sexist and sexual violence, Mediapart has learnt. Huberson, who occupies one of France's most prestigious diplomatic postings in Africa, is reported to have returned to Paris, even though Ivory Coast faces an important and potentially tense election in less than two months. Michel Pauron reports.

How French drone strikes in the Sahel risk losing 'hearts and minds'

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A French Reaper drone parked at its military base in Niamey, Niger, on December 15th 2019. © Daphné Benoit/AFP A French Reaper drone parked at its military base in Niamey, Niger, on December 15th 2019. © Daphné Benoit/AFP

Two French soldiers were killed this weekend in Mali when their vehicle was targeted by an improvised explosive device, in what was a grim reminder of the difficulties the French military face in their campaign to defeat jihadist groups in the Sahel region. To strengthen its operations, France has begun deploying, for the first time anywhere, armed drones. But, as Rémi Carayol reports, while these have apparently reduced the capacity of the jihadists to launch mass attacks, the drone strikes have also made civilians fearful for their own safety, with the potential effect of losing support for the military campaign.

Two French soldiers killed in Mali

Two French soldiers died and a third was wounded after an explosive device was triggered beside their armoured vehicle in the north-east of Mali, bringing the total number of French military personnel killed since anti-terrorist operations in the country and Sahel region began seven years ago to 45.

France's 'blind support' for Mali's regime blamed for helping trigger coup

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A press conference in Bamako given by the soldiers who took power in Mali, August 19th 2020. © MALIK KONATE / AFP A press conference in Bamako given by the soldiers who took power in Mali, August 19th 2020. © MALIK KONATE / AFP

While the authorities in Paris knew that the position of Mali's president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was weak, they were not expecting the military coup that led to his resignation on August 18th. France's recent unyielding stance in negotiations between Mali's government and opposition, and its unflagging support for prime minister Boubou Cissé, are meanwhile now being highlighted as potential causes of the current crisis. Some observers say that without France's 'blind' support for the Malian government the soldiers might not have staged the coup at all. Rémi Carayol reports.

France offers EU mediation in Belarus 'including Russia'

Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also discussed growing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean and the coup in Mali, during talks at the French president's retreat in the south of France.

Why the coup in Mali could worry Emmanuel Macron

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta announced his resignation on state television late Tuesday, hours after he and prime minister Boubou Cissé were arrested by mutinous soldiers.

French soldier dies in anti-terrorist operation in Mali

Meanwhile West African leaders ended a day-long summit in Bamako without a consensus on how to alleviate Mali's political troubles. 

Al-Qaeda chief in North Africa killed, says French minister

French defence minister Florence Parly has announced an operation led by French forces this week killed Abdelmalek Droukdel, leader of al-Qaeda in North Africa, and that last month a senior Islamic State group commander in Mali had also been captured.

Death of French soldier in Mali operations raises toll to 43

French officials have announced that Foreign Legion member Kévin Clement, 21, was killed in a firefight combat against armed groups in Mali’s Menaka region, bringing the total of fatalities among French forces engaged against jihadist forces in the north-west African country since 2013 to 43.

French Foreign Legion soldier fighting in Mali dies from IED injuries

Brigadier Dymyto Martynyouk was struck by an improvised explosive device during an 'operation against terrorist groups' on April 23, officials said.

Son of aid worker abducted in Mali says France has ‘proof of life’

Sébastien Chadaud-Pétronin said he was relieved to know his mother Sophie Pétronin, abducted in 2016, was alive, but said he felt there was no way to get her 'out of this hell'.

France makes small troop increase to anti-jihadist ops in Sahel

French President Emmanuel Macron has held a summit in Pau, south-west France, with leaders of five West African states engaged alongside France in fighting jihadist forces in the Sahel when he announced a further 220 French troops would be sent to the region to join their 4,500 colleagues already on the ground and the creation of a joint command structure with regional states.

France summons African leaders, threatening troop pullout

Facing hostility in five former colonies over a stalled fight against extremists, President Macron has taken a harsh public stance but few expect him to follow through.