The information was confirmed by the Quai d’Orsay, without further details. French nationals were arrested in Mali, acknowledged the French authorities, Tuesday, November 29, while Bamako mentioned the arrest of four people.
“We have been informed of the arrest of French nationals in Mali. We are monitoring the situation in conjunction with the French Embassy in Bamako”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Agence France-Presse. The Quai d’Orsay provided no further details.
“Operation of the security forces”, according to the Malian authorities
On Monday, the Malian Ministry of Security and Civil Protection mentioned in a press release “an operation of the security forces” sunday “to free hostages and apprehend members of a group of criminals and drug traffickers who were holding them” in Missabougou, in the east of the Malian capital.
Ten hostages including three women and three children were freed, and “four criminals, (…) a Franco-Senegalese, two French and a Franco-Malian” were arrested, the statement said.
Bamako claims that the hostages had been held since November 18 and that the group was demanding 900 million CFA francs (1.37 million euros), or failing that, information to locate a stock of cocaine recently seized by Malian customs.
Relations have been very tense between France and Mali since May 2021, when a second coup consolidated the hold of the Malian junta on power. The last French soldiers of Operation “Barkhane” left the country in August, after nine years of engagement against the jihadists alongside the Malian army. The junta’s colonels have now turned, militarily and diplomatically, to Moscow.