Mali’s Prime Minister, Choguel Kokalla Maiga, has accused France of training ‘terrorists’ in the country. Maiga has told this to Russian media and added that he has evidence of this accusation. He has said France has been training ‘terrorist’ groups and created an enclave in the West African country.
Terrorist group in Mali – Maiga said
Maiga said Mali has no access to Kidal, a town in the desert region of northern Mali as it is handed over to a ‘’terrorist’’ group known as Ansar al-Din which is assumed to be linked to Al- Qaeda. He also said France troop had created an enclave inside the country and the military of Mali cannot enter there.
Russia Today reported Maiga’s interview on Friday and Prime Minister Maiga informed them about this. Maiga also said he has evidence of training terrorist group by French officers. He added that the groups came from Libya.
Maiga summons the French ambassador in response to President Macron’s rebuke
Maiga’s statement comes after Mali summoned French ambassador over President Macron’s criticism to Mali’s government.
Mali’s government expressed, ‘indignation, disapproval’, after Macron said that Mali’s government was “not even really one’’.
President Emmanuel Macron recently announced that France’s 5,000-strong contingent would be cut in half, prompting Mali’s Prime Minister Choguel Maiga to accuse France of abandoning his country.
France retaliated angrily, accusing Mali’s leadership of “wiping your feet on the blood of French soldiers,” according to Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly.
President Macron expressed amazement at the charge, slamming Mali’s military administration, which he claimed lacked “democratic legitimacy” after two coups in less than a year.
Mercenary Deal between Mali and Russia
In 2013, French intervened in Mali because of the uprising of Islamist militant in Mali. The militant threatened to seize control of the whole country.
Since then, Paris has deployed thousands of troops across the Sahel region but the violence of rebellions could not be controlled.
Recently, the violence has spread to central Mali and affecting neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. As situation never changed, Prime Minister Maiga decided to include Russian militant to control the current massacre of Mali.
Tensions between Mali and France have grown as the Sahel state was on the verge of employing 1,000 paramilitaries from the Russian private security firm Wagner to aid in its war against al-Qaeda and ISIL affiliates (ISIS).
The Wagner Group
Mali’s contract with Russia’s Wagner Group calls for the deployment of 1,000 Russian mercenaries. Paris is attempting to sabotage the agreement’s completion.
The Malian state – represented by Assimi Gota (the transition government’s president) and Sadio Camara (his defence minister) – and a private military business affiliated to the Russian corporation Wagner have been waiting for a contract to be finalized since the beginning of September.
The memo calls for the deployment of mercenaries to Mali in coordination with the Malian army, as well as the protection of high-ranking officials.
The Malian government is considering signing a deal with a Russian-based private military business for the first time.
Wagner’s envoys had recently increased pressure, according to information, to the point of further alerting French diplomatic officials and the army.
Abandonment of Troops from Mali
In June, France decided to reduce its troops from Mali up to half. The number of troops will fall from 5,100 to 2,500-3,000 over the next few months.
After this announcement, Maiga said about ensuring security of the country autonomously or with other partners.
This has been interpreted as a reference to Mali’s alleged request for Russian mercenaries to train its military and strengthen national security, despite recent accusations of Russian mercenaries abusing Africans elsewhere, most recently in the Central African Republic.