(Reuters) - France wants to cut its forces in Mali sharply by the year-end and is urging its ex-colony to hold elections in July, but an Islamist insurgency is threatening that timetable.
Many people in northern Mali who lived under the rebels' brutal form of Islamic law last year are apprehensive about French plans to leave just 1,000 of the current 4,000 troops in the country by December, with U.N. peacekeepers filling the gap.
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