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Francophone Africa at fifty$
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Tony Chafer and Alexander Keese

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089305

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089305.001.0001

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The French Army and Malian independence (1956–1961)

The French Army and Malian independence (1956–1961)

(p.75) 5 The French Army and Malian independence (1956–1961)
Francophone Africa at fifty

Vincent Joly

Manchester University Press

In Mali, as analyzed by Vincent Joly, military continuities led in 1961 to a real crisis. In January 1961 Modibo Keïta, the President of the independent country, enforced the evacuation of the remaining French troops. The worries of the Malian government had been intensified by French activities during the Algerian War and by French nuclear tests in the south of the Sahara. Under the pretext of Malian anger over French behaviour during the split of the Federation of Mali one year earlier, the government in Bamako – defender of increasingly ‘radical’ positions – gladly used this occasion to get rid of structures that effectively constituted a counterweight in the country. The new Malian political elite were particularly distrustful of the presence of the French military forces because French officials maintained close relations to army veterans and to the nomadic populations in the north of the country. Joly interprets the process leading to the 1961 crisis as characteristic of the complex decolonization processes, in which the French army had its own clients and networks in the now-independent countries.

Keywords:   Mali, Africa, France, Algerian War, military

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