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Who Blessed the Vlads Down in Africa?

1 14 1
24.09.2021

Fighters from the Russian mercenary group Wagner may soon have another stamp in their passports, this time from the West African country of Mali, after already littering at least five fragile African states with human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, and political interference.

Last week, Reuters reported that Mali, currently ruled by a military junta after experiencing two coups in the last 13 months, is in talks with the mercenary group to hire at least 1,000 fighters to train the country’s military and provide security for senior officials. But experts and Western officials fear the group’s presence will leave the new leader beholden to Moscow and further fuel instability, which has already displaced millions of people from their homes.

A thousand mercenaries in a country the size of Mali may sound like a drop in the bucket, but the reports sparked alarm in Western capitals, particularly Paris, which is in the midst of scaling back its eight-year counterterror presence in the Sahel. French Defense Minister Florence Parly traveled to Mali over the weekend to urge the military government to rethink the move, and on Monday, she warned that a deal to accept Wagner fighters would isolate Mali internationally. Germany, which also has several hundred troops in the region, said it also may be forced to call into question its military commitments in the region.

Fighters from the Russian mercenary group Wagner may soon have another stamp in their passports, this time from the West African country of Mali, after already littering at least five fragile African states with human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, and political interference.

Last week, Reuters reported that Mali, currently ruled by a military junta after experiencing two coups in the last 13 months, is in talks with the mercenary group to hire at least 1,000 fighters to train the country’s military and provide security for senior officials. But experts and Western officials fear the group’s presence will leave the new leader beholden to Moscow and further fuel instability, which has already displaced millions of people from their homes.

A thousand mercenaries in a country the size of Mali may sound like a drop in the bucket, but the reports sparked alarm in Western capitals, particularly Paris, which is in the midst of scaling back its eight-year counterterror presence in the Sahel. French Defense Minister Florence Parly traveled to Mali over the weekend to urge the military government to rethink the move, and on Monday, she warned that a deal to accept Wagner fighters would isolate Mali........

© Foreign Policy


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