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French President Francois Hollande speaks alongside leaders and officials from Africa at the Paris Summit for security in Nigeria, Paris, May 17, 2014 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Under Hollande, Old Ills Plague French Policy in Africa

Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

“It’s the same fight, the same stakes,” French President Francois Hollande said of the battle against extremism in France and Africa while meeting with Malian troops in the northern city of Gao last week. “The terrorists who attack our land, who commit acts on our soil, are allied with those who are in the Levant, in Iraq and Syria, but here as well, in the Sahel.” Just days later, a suicide attack killed dozens at an army base there.

Hollande was in Mali for the final Africa-France Summit of his presidency, which took place in the capital, Bamako, amid tight security. Some observers initially questioned the choice of the city, given persistent insecurity in Mali, voicing a preference for Abidjan, the commercial capital of Cote d’Ivoire. But for Hollande, who launched France’s Operation Serval intervention in Mali in January 2013 less than a year after he took office, the country has significant symbolic relevance for his legacy in Africa. ...

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