Hollande Claims Victory in Mali on Bastille Day

French troops are withdrawing from the former colony


The annual Bastille Day parade in Paris has been celebrated with troops from Mali and 12 other African countries marching with the French military down the Champs Elysées.

The Malian presence was in recognition of the joint effort with French forces to oust Islamist extremists who ha taken over the north of the country and were threatening the capital Bamako.

The parade included a unit from the new UN force, mostly composed of African troops, which began its mission in Mali this month.

The French President François Hollande was joined by Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traoré, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Ivo Josipovic, the President of Croatia which has just joined the European Union.