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France Withdraws Troops Fighting in the Sahel

President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday France’s operation battling jihadist militants in the Sahel region of West Africa would come to an end with troops now operating as part of broader international efforts in the region. The decision comes days after Malian army Col Assimi Goita took power following his overthrow of a second president in nine months and growing criticism about some governments negotiating with militants. Macron earlier in June described the Mali move as a “coup within a coup” and temporarily suspended joint operations between French and Malian troops on June 3. The decision on the French troop cutback was made during a defence cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Macron said details of the changes would be finalised by the end of June after consultations with the US, European states involved in the region and the five Sahel countries — Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.