France today withdrew the last of its soldiers who were part of its anti-terror operation Barhan in Mali, the French government said, six months after Paris announced it was ending its military presence in the West African country, DPA reported.

The withdrawal of the French soldiers is the result of the decision of the authorities in Mali to terminate the bilateral defense agreement, the Elysée Palace announced, as quoted by TASS.

France remains committed in the Sahel, the Gulf of Guinea and Lake Chad, together with all its partners, the statement added.

Tensions continue to rise between Mali's military-led government, which came to power after a coup, and former colonial power France and other Western countries operating there.  

Security measures have been tightened in the capital of Mali due to fears of jihadist attacks

Before French President Emmanuel Macron announced the withdrawal, some 2,500 French troops were deployed in Mali. 

Macron said France was committed to providing a military presence in the Sahel region to support counter-terrorism operations as part of its Operation Barkhan, including in countries such as Niger. 

In 2014, France launched Operation Barhan to fight Islamist groups in Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad, TASS recalls.

Several armed groups operate in the Sahel region, which stretches south from the Sahara desert and from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the east.

Some of them pledged allegiance to the terrorist groups "Islamic State" and "Al-Qaeda", DPA recalls.

The European Union's training mission and the UN's stabilization mission in Mali are continuing their operations in the West African country, even as tensions with the military junta in the capital Bamako grow. 

Mali, home to about 20 million people, has seen three military coups since 2012.

Since the most recent coup in May last year, the country has been run by a transitional military government believed to have close ties to Russia.

The German armed forces on Friday suspended their mission in Mali until further notice, as the Malian government has repeatedly refused to grant them the right to pass through the country's airspace, BTA adds.

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