Timbuktu, Mali, 20 Jumadil Akhir 1434/29 April 2013 (MINA) – Dozens of French forces have left the Malian town of Timbuktu in the country’s north several months after they invaded the West African country, according to Press TV reports report monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).
French Col. Cyrille Zimmer said on Sunday that around 100 soldiers have been relocated to the northeastern town of Gao.
He added that a small detachment of 20 troops would remain in Timbuktu who would “operate with the Burkinabe battalion.” Soldiers from Burkina Faso officially took over in the northern town last week.
“This detachment is going to stay in Timbuktu while the Burkinabes are there,” he added.
Meanwhile, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Friday reaffirmed that the country would keep 1,000 troops in Mali to fight armed groups even after the arrival of UN peacekeepers later this year.
“From now on we are in the post-war phase. The UN resolution adopted yesterday will allow for the arrival of a force to stabilize the country,” Le Drian told reporters, adding, “But France will keep about 1,000 soldiers to carry on with military operations.”
The French-led war on Mali, which Paris launched on January 11, 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.
Amnesty International said on February 1 that serious human rights breaches -including the killing of children- were being conducted in Mali.
Some political analysts believe Mali’s abundant natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind the French war against the African country.(T/P09/E1).
Miraj News Agency (MINA).