France’s parliament has unanimously passed a non-binding resolution aimed at encouraging members of the EU to put Russian paramilitary group Wagner on its official list of terrorist organisations, opening up the possibilty of freezing the assets of it and its members, while media reports said a similar blacklisting was “imminent” by the UK and likely to be enacted within weeks.
France is to complete a total military withdrawal from Burkina Faso after the ruling junta of the West African country demanded on Monday that the around 400 French soldiers stationed there leave within a month, amid speculation that the Burkinabè regime will now turn to the Kremlin-backed Wagner mercenary group for support in its war with jihadist insurgents.
Mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a Russian private paramilitary organisation with close ties to the Kremlin, have been linked to summary executions, forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests in Mali, where they are officially presented as “instructors” for the West African country’s army in its war against jihadist insurgents. While the Malian authorities deny that their Russian allies take part in direct combat, numerous eyewitness accounts tell a very different story. Paul Lorgerie reports from Mali.
A Malian army unit accompanied by foreign mercenaries, who from witness accounts appear to be members of Russia's paramilitary Wagner Group, last week carried out summary executions of hundreds of people in the town of Moura, in the centre of Mali, in an operation officially described as a crackdown on jihadist insurgents, according to a report by NGO Human Rights Watch. Mediapart’s West Africa correspondent Rémi Carayol has spoken to survivors of the massacre and with various sources including local rights activists, who say the dead, variously estimated to number between 300 and 600, were mostly non-jihadist civilians.