PARIS, July 2 (Reuters) – French military forces have resumed joint operations with Mali troops in the west African country, said the French armed forces ministry, as France vows to keep a presence in the African Sahel region in order to tackle Islamist militants in the area.
Last month, President Emmanuel Macron said France’s operation battling Islamist militants in the Sahel region of West Africa would come to an end with troops now operating as part of broader international efforts in the region.
At the time, Macron said details of the changes would be finalised by the end of June after consultations with the United States, European states involved in the region and the five Sahel countries – Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
Militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have strengthened their foothold across the Sahel region, making large swathes of territory ungovernable and stoking ethnic violence, especially in Mali and Burkina Faso. (Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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