On Friday, French President Francois Hollande said French troops in Mali, both by air and ground, are bringing the fight to radical islamist gangs in the country.
It is not yet known why French troops are in Mali, but it has been confirmed by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius that the French military has launched airstrikes.
Speaking from the Elysee Palace in Paris Hollande says:
“French military forces have brought their support to the Malian forces this afternoon to fight against these terrorist elements. This operation will last as long as it is necessary. I will regularly inform the French people about its course.”
“Mali is facing a terrorist aggression in the north and the whole world is aware of their brutality and extremism. Today it is therefore the very existence of this friendly state that is at stake, as is the security of its population and of our own 6,000 citizens living there.”
According to CNN the aggression of French troops in Mali underlines the country’s concern for it’s former colony. The publication points out that prior to attacks France had promised to scale back intervening in local politics in Mali.
Action by the French government may have been prompted by the recent number of French taken hostage in neighboring Niger by al Qaeda.
France may have also seen other recent attacks by radical Islamist groups in Timbuktu as a sign of growing concern.
Radical Islamists have occupied Northern Mali since January 2012 after fighting broke out between the government and Tuareg rebels. Hundreds of thousands of Malians have been uprooted as a result, creating concern that an Al Qaeda foothold could be established in the country.
International leaders believe rapid military action needs to be taken help Mali solve its security problems. Perhaps the action now being taken by the French military is the start of this.
What do you think: Does France have a right to step in and take military action in another nation?