France began its military operations in the Sahel in 2013 to crush a rebellion in the North of Mali, a former French colony. The rebel and terrorist groups then reorganized to attack the center of the country which initiated a full blown rebellion. After nearly a decade, the rebels were still not contained and the numbers of terrorist attacks in the country rose steadily and the violence spread to neighboring countries.
The rising tensions eventually led to the complete deterioration of the relations between the two countries.
Mali expelled the French ambassador last January and on 31 July 2022, on National Television, the government of Mali demanded that the French President Macron abandon his “neocolonial, paternalistic and patronizing posture” towards Mali.
During this time, Mali accused France of violating its airspace several times, of spying, subversion and of trying to divide the country.
Eventually, Mali called for the help of Russian private security contractors to fill the vacuum that France left behind while France retreated to Niger and Burkina Faso after being expelled from the country.