The leader of Mali, Assimi Goïta, is said to be on the verge of signing an agreement with the Russian security group Wagner, France which also has its troops in the Sahel, has expressed firm opposition to this project.
According to the corroborating information, the agreement aims at the deployment of a thousand mercenaries for a “deal” to the tune of 6 billion CFA francs per month.
The Malian Ministry of Defense admitted to AFP on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, that they conduct negotiations with this private military company that Amnesty International calls “Vladimir Putin’s secret army”.
Nevertheless, the ministry had specified that “at this stage, nothing has been signed”.
The country of Macron, which announced on the night of Wednesday to Thursday that it had killed the leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, has already expressed its firm opposition to this agreement.
The presence of Russian mercenaries on the Malian ground would be “absolutely irreconcilable with our presence” and “incompatible with the action of the Sahelian and international partners of Mali”, launched before the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the National Assembly, Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister of Foreign Affairs.
According to the latter, these Russian mercenaries have distinguished themselves in the past particularly in Syria, in the Central African Republic, many with exactions, predations, violations of all kinds (and) cannot correspond to any solution.
And Florence Parly, the French Minister of Defense to add: “If the Malian authorities were to enter into a contract with the Wagner company, it would be extremely worrying and contradictory, inconsistent with everything that we have undertaken for years and all that we are counting on. undertake in support of the countries of the Sahel ”.
France, which has already announced the end of Operation Barkhane and the withdrawal of part of its troops from Mali, threatens to further reduce its participation in the fight against armed jihadist groups in the Sahel.
The Wagner group
First appearing alongside the secessionists of Donbass in Ukraine in 2014, Wagner has no legal existence in Russia, where private military companies are banned.
However, the presence of the group has been documented in Libya alongside the forces of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, in Syria with the troops of Bashar al-Assad and as “instructors” in the Central African Republic and elsewhere.
In addition, Western media have reported their presence in Mozambique and Sudan during the crackdown on anti-Omar al-Bashir protesters in 2019.
Source: News Agencies