France is halting joint military operations with Mali over last week’s coup in the West African country.

It said the suspension would continue until it received guarantees about a return to civilian rule in Mali.

French forces have been supporting troops from Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso to fight militants in the Sahel region.

On 25 May Mali’s military strongman, Col Assimi Goïta, ousted the country’s civilian president and prime minister.

This week the West African grouping Ecowas and the African Union (AU) suspended Mali from their bodies.

On Thursday France’s armed forces ministry said that both Ecowas and the AU had set “the framework for the political transition in Mali”.

It added: “While awaiting these guarantees, France has decided to suspend, as a temporary measure, joint military operations with Malian forces.”

French troops will continue to operate there independently.

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