Second camel for Hollande after Malians eat ‘gift’

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MALI will give French president François Hollande another camel after the one given to him in thanks for helping repel Islamist rebels was killed and eaten by the family he left it with in Timbuktu.

Yesterday a local official in northern Mali said a replacement would be sent to France.

The unnamed official said: “As soon as we heard of this, we quickly replaced it with a bigger and better-looking camel.

“The new camel will be sent to Paris.

“We are ashamed of what happened to the camel. It was a present that did not deserve this fate.”

Mr Hollande was presented with the camel when he visited Mali in February weeks after dispatching French troops to the former colony to help combat al-Qaeda-linked fighters moving south from territory they controlled in the north. The president joked at the time about using the camel to get around traffic-clogged Paris. But he chose to leave it with a family in a sub-Saharan town.

Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was asked to give him regular updates on the camel’s status and had to tell him of its fate after soldiers reported its death.