Military officials stated on Tuesday that France had given up control of the Tessalit facility to the Malian army as part of preparations to reorganize French forces deployed in the repressive Sahel region under “Operation Barkhane.” After the Kidal base was turned over to the Malian army in October, the northern base was the second French station to be removed. By the end of the year, the third base in Timbuktu will be closed. While air support will continue to be provided, the 5,100 French troops now stationed in the Sahel will be decreased to around 3,000. The Malian military will be supported in combat by European special troops stationed in the Takuba task force.
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