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The French army began, Tuesday morning, the final phase of the transfer of the base of Kidal, in the north of Mali, to the force of the United Nations and the Malian army, indicated the French general staff, then that Paris undertook in June to reorganize its military system in the Sahel.
The Barkhane anti-jihadist force began on Tuesday (October 13th) the final phase of the transfer of the Kidal base in northern Mali to the United Nations force (Minusma) and the Malian army, the state said. French major.
“The last logistics convoy left for Gao this morning at 5:00 am. A detachment of Barkhane will remain on site for the final administrative and logistical formalities,” said the spokesman of the staff, Colonel Pascal Ianni.
Paris undertook, in June, to reorganize its military system in the Sahel, notably by leaving the northernmost bases of Mali (Kidal, Timbuktu and Tessalit) and by planning to reduce its personnel in the region by 2023 to 2 500-3000 men, against more than 5000 today.
“The transfer to Minusma and the Malian armed forces will be final within ten days,” added the spokesperson, insisting on “the close collaboration with the authorities and the army” of Mali.
Relations between Paris and Bamako deteriorated on September 25, when the Malian transitional Prime Minister, Choguel Kokalla Maïga, accused France, engaged militarily in Mali since 2013, of “abandonment in the air”. Critics supposed to justify the possible recourse to the Russian private security group Wagner, described as close to President Vladimir Putin, to compensate for the reduction in the wings of Barkhane.
The detachment of Barkhane who remains in Kidal, whose numbers have not been revealed “for security reasons”, will be called upon to provide “reinsurance” to France’s partners, the spokesperson said, insisting. on a “controlled, controlled, secure” process.
“There is no question of letting people say that we are abandoning Mali,” he insisted.
Minusma has 1,300 soldiers in Kidal, Guineans and Chadians. The Malian forces are gathering 400, said the same source.