Mali tells France to keep 'colonial reflexes' to itself
Mali has called on France to keep its "colonial reflexes" to itself and not interfere in its internal affairs after Paris reprimanded the African country for rejecting Denmark's troops.
Mali’s transitional government on Monday asked Denmark to immediately withdraw its nearly 100 troops, saying the Danish contingent in the Takuba Task Force (TTF) lacked a proper legal basis and that their arrival had “taken place without its consent.”
The TTF was established in March 2020 to help Mali and its West African Sahel neighbors, namely Burkina Faso and Niger, combat militants linked to Daesh and al-Qaeda, which have occupied swathes of territory in the area where their borders meet.
Relations between France and its former colony have soured since the junta has clung to power and brought Russian mercenaries into the country.
"We invite (Armed Forces Minister Florence) Parly to show restraint and respect the basic principle of not interfering in the domestic affairs of a state," Abdoulaye Maiga told national news broadcaster ORTM1 late on Wednesday.
Maiga's comments targeting Parly, who had accused the junta of provocation, come amid a standoff over the presence of a European Takuba task force which was set up to help Mali tackle Islamic State and al Qaeda militants.
France and 14 other European countries urged the junta on Wednesday to allow Danish special forces to remain in Mali, rejecting the junta's claims their presence was without legal basis. Maiga responded that the Danes needed to withdraw immediately.
"We invite them (the Danes) to be careful about some partners who sadly have problems getting rid of their colonial reflexes," Maiga said.
Norway, Portugal, and Hungary are still waiting for approval and have not yet deployed troops, the Malian government said earlier.
On Thursday, Copenhagen said in a statement that it would withdraw its contingent following repeated demands by the Sahel country.
Mali has become increasingly engulfed in violence since a Tuareg uprising in 2012 was hijacked by extremist militants, who perpetrated ethnic killings and attacks on government forces and civilians.