Troops from 13 African countries that took part in the French-led war against al-Qaeda-linked extremists in Mali marched with the French military during the Bastille Day parade in Paris yesterday to honour their role in the conflict.
Around 50 Malian troops marched in formation followed by soldiers from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Chad and Togo. UN troops in blue berets who are helping to stabilise the west African nation earlier this year also paraded with thousands of other soldiers down the Champs Elysées Avenue in France’s annual tribute to military might. It marks the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, by angry Paris crowds, that helped spark the French Revolution.
President François Hollande said: “Look at what happened. It was a victory for Africa, a victory against terrorism.”
He said earlier the presence of African troops was a “tribute to those who actively helped to banish terrorism from the Malian territory”.