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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Russian mercenaries in Mali killed by jihadists

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The jihadist “Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims”, linked to “Al-Qaeda”, announced that it killed four paramilitaries from the Russian private armed militia “Wagner” in an ambush in Central Mali, reported France Press.

Two local representatives and a hospital source confirmed the news.

The ambush took place on Saturday in Bandiagara area. A group of mercenaries from “Wagner” have gone out on motorcycles and headed for the nearby mountains. There they ran into the ambush in which four Russians were killed.

Mali’s junta has turned to what it says are instructors from Russia to support it in the context of the deteriorating security situation. Paris and Washington refer to these instructors as mercenaries of the “Wagner” group.

On Monday, France, whose military has been fighting the jihadists for nine years, said it had withdrawn its last soldier from Mali because of deteriorating relations with Bamako’s rulers. Among the reasons for the worsening of relations was the invitation to “Wagner” to deploy in Mali. After almost a decade of being based in Mali to fight Islamist rebels around West Africa, France and military allies have moved to Niger to continue their mission. “France remains committed in the (wider region) Sahel, in the Gulf of Guinea and the Lake Chad region with all partners committed to stability and the fight against terrorism,” the French presidency said in a statement.

Coups in Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso have weakened France’s alliances in its former colonies, emboldened jihadists who control large swathes of the three countries. About French soldiers are based in the Niger capital, Niamey, along with warplanes, drones and helicopters, French officials told reporters last month. Another 300-400 people will be sent for special operations with the troops of Niger in the border areas with Burkina and Mali.

Between 700 and 1,000 more commandos will be based in Chad, as well as an undisclosed number of special forces operating elsewhere in the region.

Last week, Germany ended its military mission in support of the United Nations in the African country because of a dispute with the authorities, who once again refused to allow a plane to bring a replacement for the German contingent.

MINUSMA – The UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, was established in 2013 to support foreign and local troops fighting Islamist militants, but in recent months there have been repeated incidents of tension between Malian authorities and the world’s peacekeeping forces. organization.

German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said Germany was ready in principle to participate in an international peacekeeping mission, but only if it was supported by the Malian government. For now, Berlin is suspending the reconnaissance part of its mission until further notice.

Photo credit: © European commission (audiovisual service)

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