Russian mercenaries arrived within the Malian city of Menaka on Wednesday simply days after France’s army pullout from the positioning, sources briefed on the matter informed AFP.
France handed again the army base in northeastern Mali on Monday, as a part of its withdrawal from Mali after virtually a decade main the Barkhane anti-insurgency power in opposition to jihadists.
The French military stated earlier than leaving that it might be “very vigilant to data assaults”, that would embody the organisation of anti-France demonstrations or the burying of our bodies to make it appear like France carried out atrocities.
“A number of dozen” Russian mercenaries of the non-public army firm Wagner Group arrived on Wednesday, sources briefed on the scenario who requested to not be named informed AFP, whereas a neighborhood supply stated they’d seen “a dozen” Russians.
Western nations have repeatedly accused Moscow of sending mercenaries from the Wagner Group, infamous from its previous operations in Africa, Syria and Ukraine, into Mali to assist prop up the army junta.
The departure from the Menaka base “was carried out in good order, safely and in clear trend in a context the place the Barkhane power is confronted with common data assaults to try to tarnish its actions and credibility,” stated French military spokesman Pascal Ianni earlier within the week.
In April, the French military stated it had filmed Russian mercenaries burying our bodies close to the Gossi base in northern Mali to falsely accuse France’s departing forces of abandoning mass graves.
The video got here after a Twitter person posted photographs of pixelated corpses buried in sand and accused France of atrocities.
France’s normal employees referred to as the Twitter video an “data assault” and stated the profile was “very in all probability a faux account created by Wagner”.
Relations between Bamako and Paris have gone steadily downhill, propelled by the junta’s resistance to setting an early date to revive civilian rule and Bamako’s prices that France was inciting the area to take a tough line in opposition to it.
The bust-up accelerated final 12 months, because the junta wove nearer ties with Moscow, bringing in “army instructors” that France and its allies condemned as mercenaries employed from the pro-Kremlin Wagner group.
In January this 12 months, the French ambassador to Bamako was expelled and the next month France introduced the pullout of its troops from Mali.