On Wednesday, French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly warned Mali of possible international isolation if it used the Russian “Wagner” group.
“If Mali enters into a partnership with Wagner’s mercenaries, it will be isolated and will lose the support of the international community that is very committed to it, it will give up the full components of its sovereignty, it will be far from diversifying its partners and it will be closed with a group of mercenaries,” Parly said, in a speech in the Senate.
The Minister of Armies added: “For us, things are clear, mercenaries cannot coexist.”
And Saturday, Malian Prime Minister Shogul Koukala Maiga, in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, accused France of “abandoning” his country “midway” with its decision to withdraw Barkhane’s force, justifying his country’s search for “other partners”, including “Russian private companies”. “.
Russian “Wagner” mercenaries operate in the Central African Republic, Sudan, Libya and Mozambique, in order to train local armies, protect VIPs, fight insurgents or terrorist groups, and protect gold, diamond and uranium mines in hot spots.
Many extremist organizations are active in the African Sahel region, including the branch of Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, where these organizations launch attacks from time to time targeting military barracks and foreigners in the Sahel countries, especially in Mali.
While the three-border area shared between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso has turned into a new stronghold for extremist organizations, the French “Barkhane” operation, which includes 5,100 soldiers, failed to clear the region of militants, despite the presence of African Union forces and the arrival of military support from European countries.
France announced, in early July 2021, that it would resume joint military operations in Mali, after suspending them in early June, following a military coup in the country, the second in less than a year.