French soldiers to leave Timbuktu, last of three bases in Northern Mali

After nine years deployed in Mali, France is organising a drawdown, with troops preparing to leave the last of three bases in the far north of the insurgency-hit and poverty-wracked country. French troops were sent to Mali in 2013 by then-president Francois Hollande to tackle the rebels affiliated to Al-Qaeda or Islamic State in the arid north.