France announced that it was withdrawing its troops from Mali on Thursday after nearly a decade-long deployment to the country to fight radical Islamic terrorist groups.

“We cannot remain militarily engaged alongside de facto authorities whose strategy and hidden aims we do not share,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, reported AFP.

The country will remove 2,400 soldiers and other European nations also said they would remove several hundred soldiers in the smaller European Takuba force that was established in 2020.

According to the report, a breakdown in relations between France and the ruling regime, which informed that Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group arrived, led to the withdrawal. Other concerns revolved around Mali’s growing ties with Russia.

France sent soldiers to its former colony in 2013 to help fight back jihadists.

“What would have happened in 2013 if France had not chosen to intervene?” posed Macros. “You would for sure have had the collapse of the Malian state.”

He further noted that French soldiers had killed local Al-Qaeda and ISIS terror group leaders.

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