Oxfam's reaction to the announcement of the withdrawal of the French and European military presence in Mali

Thursday 17 February 2022

17 February 2022 - In response to the announcement of the withdrawal of the Barkhane operation and the Takuba task forcefrom Mali, Oxfam's West Africa Regional Director, Assalama Dawalack Sidi said: "The announced withdrawal of French (and European) military forces from Mali is a terrible admission of failure. After almost ten years of military operations, nothing has really been resolved and much of the Central Sahel continues to be plagued by conflict: more than 2.1 million people have had to flee the violence and 13 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. The military redeployment announced today will solve nothing if lessons are not learned about the reasons for this failure."

"For several years now, many of us have been sounding the alarm without really having been listened to about the inadequacy of the military approach that does not allow us to address the root causes of the Sahelian crisis. As long as the storm of inequality will blow, it will fuel the frustrations and sense of injustice of populations that have been marginalized for too long and the Sahel will burn.”

"Nearly ten years after the arrival of the first French troops in the Sahel, it is high time to change our approach. These last few weeks have highlighted the urgency of listening to the demands of the people, opening spaces for dialogue with transparent and inclusive governance and responding to their right to live in dignity and peace."

"As for the new security strategies that will be put in place in the region, these must make the protection of civilians a top priority while guaranteeing humanitarian access, and access to basic services in order to facilitate the return to peace."

Contact information: 

Simon Trépanier, in Soudan | simon.trepanier@oxfam.org| +249 99 180 3627 | WhatsApp: +39 388 850 9970

For updates, follow @Oxfamwestafrica and @Oxfam