No doubt anymore. Russian mercenaries affiliated with the private company Wagner have been recruited in Mali, especially in the center of the country. On Christmas Eve, it was estimated that there were only forty people at the airport’s backed airport in the capital, Bamako, whose number has now reached 300 to 350 men, and many French and local sources say they have advanced to Timbuktu.
The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a convoy of jihadists, and the paramilitary forces’ presence was identified in the center of the country. The attack, which took place Jan. 3, south of Mopti, between Pangas and Pondicherry, killed several jihadists and wounded at least one Wagner faction member, according to French 24 journalist Wasim Nasser. According to our reports, on Thursday, January 6, at least one person was killed and two were injured in Wagner.
At this point, however, there are still ambiguous positions regarding the status of this group: some may be simple Russian players. But in keeping with its practice, Moscow remains silent when Malian authorities continue to deny any agreement with the Wagner Group. On January 5, the Malian army confirmed it “Russian soldiers” Timbuktu had come. At the end of December, a spokesman for the interim government explained “Russian Instructors” Were in Mali.
Living with Minusma
Evidence from the interview suggests that the proportion of workers associated with the Wagner Group in Mali is growing. The world. “There is no doubt that the conveyor belt is advancing with more and more people”, Refers to one of them, now triggers “A remarkable track”. As they have already done in the Central African Republic, the Malian Armed Forces’ (FAMA) war support may now involve 300 to 350 identified Russian-speakers — mainly in Ségou, Mopti and Sévaré, reaching about 200. A few dozen people will also be parked in Timbuktu. One area where the blue helmets (minusma) of the United Nations Multi-Dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali are located, directly presents the problem of co-existence between these two international powers with very different objectives, policies and rules of engagement.
The men of the Wagner Group and potential Russian instructors in conjunction with FAMA have been arriving in Mali on a small scale since mid-December by plane. But according to interviewed sources, they did not cross the usual border restrictions at Bamako Airport and landed discreetly at the end of the runway, hence their uncertain identity. Despite official denials from Malian authorities, they were gradually transported by road to central Mali.
First, in December, in Bamako, but also in “outlying areas” such as Nara or Chicasso, Wagner’s pioneers moved toward the center of Mali, becoming more visible to the fighting and more visible to onlookers. . Clashes between jihadists and Russian or paramilitary forces erupted in central Tokyo. Qadiba Masina, affiliated with the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), is affiliated with al-Qaeda, maintains its hold outside the cities and plays in clashes between the Fulani and Dohan communities.
Sending Wagner’s men or Russian soldiers into the region is trivial. Without ever assuming it, Mali’s central power has abandoned central Mali in recent years, providing part of the security to local defense fighters, who have been repeatedly accused of abuse. At the same time, France has always carefully avoided involving Operation “Parken” soldiers in this area.
“Line of Anger”
Will the Malian regime, which seized power after the coup in August 2020, be forced to stage a coup in anticipation of the start of a military recapture as tensions mount from within and outside? Interim officials are now trying to postpone the presidential election until the end of February 2022 – the scheduled date, if they can attract a certain local celebrity and launch more opportunistic lawsuits against the personalities of previous regimes. No one believes – January 2026 in the distant deadline. Most Malian political parties have already rejected this apparent intention to retain power, and the countries or organizations involved in the country have become irritated and concerned about the deteriorating situation in Mali. It has already had a severe impact on its neighbors.
All eyes are now on the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) Summit on January 9. Ambassadors of Mali’s interim government have, in recent days, toured the capitals of the region to present their new calendar. “A Line of Anger” A French source says it is emerging among the leaders of West African countries. “Even those who are very reluctant to strengthen sanctions like the Togolese see that they have reached the end of their logic,” he said. The latter says.
After pronouncing travel bans against several members of the current Mali power, ECOWAS may impose a border blockade and request the freezing of Mali’s accounts with the Central Bank of the West African States. Serious measures that could lead to the collapse of the weak Malian economy and push a section of the population into nationalist reactions. “Everyone in Egovas is angry with the Malian authorities after the calendar trigger. The time has definitely come to remind them that they are locking themselves in a dangerous logic.” However a foreign observer in Bamako warns.
The progress of the Wagner group in Mali is also problematic for France. On paper, Russian and French forces do not merge. 300 to 400 kilometers separates Timbuktu or Mopti from Cao, where “Parken” is its main base. But the French soldiers also provide war support to the Malian army. The paradoxical situation in Bamaga is that political relations with the government have stalled. “If ECOWAS acts that we have no common political motives, we will not be able to continue these activities indefinitely,” he said. Judging by a French decision-maker who knows that maintaining a brotherhood of arms with a country is impossible for a long time, Paris also pushes the rulers to allow it.