Western condemnation of the deployment of Russian “Wagner” mercenaries in Mali
Fifteen Western countries – including France and Germany – condemned in a joint statement today, Thursday, the deployment of Russian mercenaries belonging to the “Wagner” paramilitary group in Mali, with the help of Moscow.
These countries – including Britain and Canada – said, “We strongly condemn the spread of mercenaries on Malian lands,” denouncing “the involvement of the Russian Federation government in securing material support for the spread of the Wagner Group in Mali.”
The statement did not include Bamako’s call for the withdrawal of foreign forces, knowing that Paris has confirmed so far that the presence of Wagner’s elements on Malian soil would be “inconsistent” with the continued deployment of French soldiers in Mali.
A French government source said, “Today, we observe on the ground frequent air shifts by military transport planes belonging to the Russian army, facilities at Bamako airport that allow receiving a large number of mercenaries, regular visits by cadres from Wagner to Bamako, and activities of Russian geologists known for their closeness to Wagner.” “.
Addressing the ruling military junta in Mali, the 15 countries added that “this deployment will further deteriorate the security situation in West Africa, exacerbate the human rights situation in Mali, threaten the peace and reconciliation agreement emanating from the Algiers track, and impede the efforts of the international community to ensure the protection of civilians and provide support of the Malian Armed Forces.
“We reiterate our determination to continue our action with the aim of protecting civilians, supporting the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region, and contributing to the establishment of long-term stability,” the 15 countries said, calling on the Malian military council to hold “elections at the earliest.”
The United States had warned the military rulers in Mali not to contract with the Wagner Group, which is accused of sending mercenaries to countries, including Libya, Syria and Central Africa, and of committing serious human rights violations during its involvement in military conflicts in these countries.