Mali says France is unwanted in the West African nation
Mali’s government recently expelled France’s ambassador, the latest sign of mounting tensions between the West African country and its former colonial power.
The move came after outrageous remarks by French Foreign Minister who claimed that Mali’s government is "out of control" and "illegitimate".
Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop appeared on the country’s national TV to announce the expulsion of the French Ambassador.
Tensions have been building up between the two sides as Mali seeks to assert its independence while France is desperate to maintain its grip in its former colony.
Leaders of countries in West Africa’s Sahel region have abandoned their hopes in France’s supposed counter-terrorism efforts and started negotiating with armed militants to bring peace to the restive region.
The Sahel, a semi-arid stretch of land south of the Sahara desert, has been in turmoil since 2012, when a number of armed separatists started targeting the local population in Mali.
Observers accuse France of pursuing neo-colonialism in Africa, falsely claiming to fight terrorism as a pretext to maintain its influence in the region.
Anti-French sentiment is rampant in Mali and Burkina Faso. On the streets of Bamako, Mali’s capital, many say that France is actually trying to keep the country weak so the former colonial power can exploit secret gold and oil reserves in the Sahara.
African nations that suffered under French colonial rule still remember France's colonial- era crimes, despite the passage of decades since their independence from Paris.