French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the peace process in northern Mali is on the “right path” following the start of mixed patrols between Malian soldiers and ex-rebels.

France has mobilized 4,000 soldiers in five countries of the Sahel, including in Mali, to fight against jihadism.

The first mixed patrols of Malian soldiers, fighters of pro-government groups and the former Tuareg-dominated rebellion, began on Thursday in Gao.

Meanwhile, the installation of the interim authorities in the North was postponed due to a contested appointment in Kidal, a bastion of Mali’s former rebellion.

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