There was, finally, some good news for President François Hollande today.
Mali’s leaders gave him a new camel to replace one presented to him in February, which was subsequently eaten by the family he had left it in the care of in Timbuktu.
“As as soon as we heard of this, we quickly replaced it with a bigger and better-looking camel,” a Malian government official is reported to have said. “The new camel will be sent to Paris. We are ashamed of what happened to the (old) camel. It was a present that did not deserve this fate.”
President Hollande was given the first camel as a gift when he visited Mali the month after France’s successful military intervention in January to prevent Islamist groups from invading the south of the country. It greeted its new master with ear-piercing howls.
Mr Hollande joked at the time that he would use the camel instead of a limousine to negotiate the streets of Paris.
However, he chose to leave the animal with a family living on the edge of Timbuktu, which apparently made it into tagine.