Malians say they once appreciated French military support, but ‘things have changed’

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Political activist Ousmane Kalilou Maiga told FRANCE 24 that Malians once appreciated France’s military intervention in the country, but he believes that now, “France wants to maintain the status quo, so they can stay and control the region”.

Maiga travelled from Timbuktu to Bamako to join thousands protesting the decision by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to levy sanctions – a move supported by France – following a proposal by Mali’s junta to stay in power for up to five years before staging elections.   

“Mali isn’t an ungrateful country, see how many children were named after president François Hollande at the time,” Maiga said, referring to then French president Hollande’s decision to send forces to Mali in early 2013 to fight a jihadist insurgency in the country’s north.

A few days after the Bamako protest, Maiga told FRANCE 24 that Malians “are not against France or the French people, we are against France’s policy regarding Mali and in the Sahel”.

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