While Mali is going through a security and political crisis, the Wagner mercenaries are more and more talked about. Three hundred Russian paramilitaries and soldiers are now said to be deployed north of Bamako.
Rumors about the presence of Russian mercenaries have been spreading for several months. Last Thursday, France and fifteen other Western powers engaged in the anti-jihadist fight in the Sahel, accused the African country of deliberately welcoming the Wagner mercenaries on their territory.
the west is worried
The Wagner mercenaries are said to be part of a private Russian security company, made up mostly of former soldiers from the Russian army and headed by a former personal cook of Vladimir Putin.
The European Parliament has just adopted by a very large majority the resolution of which I am the author, which denounces the atrocities committed by the Wagner group, calls for rapid and strong sanctions and urges Mali not to resort to these criminal mercenaries . pic.twitter.com/nr9GBN0z4i
– Nathalie Loiseau (@NathalieLoiseau) November 25, 2021
If the West is destabilized by Operation Wagner, it is because they currently have control over the security of the country, up to the protection of the president, whom the soldiers of the European Union previously looked after. Russia is advancing, and France’s influence is diminishing. Known for their unconventional methods, the Wagner mercenaries would have resorted to violence: dozens of civilian deaths (including children) have been counted in recent months in Mali according to our colleagues from the World. A certain vagueness remains present around their exact origin and their link with the Kremlin, which officially has no link with them.
Malian government denies
The Malian authorities deny the facts. For them, it is not a question of mercenaries but of Russian military instructors present in several parts of the country. No link is recognized between Russia and Mali. However, several flights between Moscow and Bamako have been noticed in recent months, including one dated December 23 by the Twitter account Gerjon. These aerial rotations filmed by satellites are worrying.
An African diplomat stationed in Bamako, on condition of anonymity, admits to AFP the presence of a hundred Russian mercenaries in Mali. Regarding Operation Barkhane, the French do not plan to withdraw faster than expected. The forces must increase from 5,000 to 3,000 men within two years.