French military base attacked in Mali, senior officer killed
A major French military base in northern Mali has come under a rocket attack, leaving one senior military officer dead.
A statement by French Presidential office said Brigadier Alexandre Martin, who had been serving in France’s Barkhane operation in the restive Sahel region, died as the Barkhane military camp in Gao came under attack on Saturday afternoon.
Gao in northern Mali is also known as the center of Operation Barkhane, which is led by the French military with the stated aim of pushing back terrorist groups in Africa’s Sahel region.
A French mission began in Mali in 2013 to allegedly counter militants that Paris claims are linked to the al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorist groups. France, a former colonizer of Africa, also deployed thousands of soldiers to presumably prevent separatist forces from reaching Mali’s capital, Bamako.The war caused several thousand deaths and more than a million people to flee their homes.
There have been protests in several West African countries including Mali against the French military presence with demonstrators calling for the total withdrawal of French troops from the region.
Meanwhile, France recently withdrew from Northern Mali and the historic city of Timbuktu nine years after launching a war without the initial approval of the United Nations or even the French parliament.
France has been one of the world’s colonizing countries that after many years of slavery still controls countries spread over more than 12 territories and treats their people as second-class citizens.
It has had more than 50 military interventions in Africa since 1960, when many of its former colonies gained nominal independence. Mali remains among the poorest countries in the world, due to meddling by its former colonial power and other Western countries.