Camel, alive
The doomed camel.

A camel presented to French president François Hollande as a gift in Mali has been eaten by locals.

In what appears to have been a major diplomatic breach, the family charged with looking after the creature for Hollande have instead slaughtered it for a stew.

Mali had presented the camel to Hollande for spearheading a military campaign to drive Al Qaeda militants out of the country and liberate Timbuktu from the yoke of Islamist rule earlier this year.

French defence minister jean-Yves Le Drian revealed the fate of the animal, just days after Hollande had pledged to use it for official transport.

Eventful life

The camel's demise marks the end of an eventful spell in the spotlight for the humped ungulate, which caused a din at its own presentation ceremony in Mali by screeching all the way through a thank-you speech by a local official to Hollande.

The leader of France could just be heard above the racket, announcing: "I will use it [the camel] as a means of transport as often as possible."

Then the number of humps on its back sparked a torrent of speculation in French newspapers and magazines, after a blanket on its back left viewers uncertain whether it had one lump or two, reported the Telegraph.

Victory: President Hollande with Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore
Victory: President Hollande with Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore

After that, Hollande was frustrated in his bid to get the camel in to France by the country's strict vaccination laws. He then changed his mind over fears it would suffer in the much chillier climate away from Mali.

A further hiccup came when it was claimed Hollande's camel was in fact stolen property. A Timbuktu man said the creature had been taken from him after French air forces destroyed his home in an air raid.

But now the turbulent camel has been laid to rest in a big pot, after locals in Mali could not resist its gustatory delights.

Decisive action

Hollande won plaudits - and the camel - for acting decisively against Islamist fighters who took over large swathes of the African country and imposed strict Shariah law.

A force comprising 2,000 African troops in partnership with French forces drove back the rebels, with around 200 UK troops providing additional support.

The action was the spark for a deadly raid by Islamists on a secluded gas station in Algeria by militants, in which 39 people were killed after government forces mounted a counter attack to wrest back control of the station.

READ: Mali Gives 'Bigger and Better-Looking Camel' to Hollande after Locals Eat First Gift