Mali

The growing evidence linking Russian mercenaries to abuses in Mali

International — Report

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.

France says Russian mercenaries staged ‘French atrocity’ in Mali

International — Link

French army says it filmed mercenaries burying bodies to falsely accuse France of leaving behind mass graves. 

Witnesses detail Mali town massacre by army and suspected Russian mercenaries

International — Report

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.

Macron announces French military withdrawl from Mali

International — Link

Amid high diplomatic tensions between France and the military regime in Mali, President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday announced a withdrawl of French military presence in the west African country, deployed nine years ago in a campaign to contain jihadist insurgents.  

Why tensions with Mali could soon lead to France withdrawing its troops

International — Analysis

On Monday January 31st the military-civilian junta running Mali told France's ambassador to leave the country in a further escalation of the tension that has developed between the two nations in recent months. As Rémi Carayol observes, the next stage in the bitter war of words could be an announcement from Paris that France's military forces in the African country will be withdrawn.

Mali expels French ambassador after minister's 'outrageous' comments

International — Link

Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian last week said the Mali junta was "illegitimate" and "out of control".

French minister accuses Russian mercenaries of ‘despoiling’ Mali

International — Link

Tensions have increased between Paris and the country’s military junta in recent weeks, including over the fate of European forces deployed in the region to fight jihadists.

French soldier killed in mortar attack on military camp in Mali

International — Link

Brigadier Alexandre Martin, 24, was killed and nine other French soldiers were wounded following a mortar attack on Saturday against their military camp near the town of Gao, central Mali, believed to have been launched by al-Qaeda-linked Islamist insurgents.

France's silence over civilians killed by Malian soldiers in joint operations

International

A year ago the French military bombed a wedding ceremony at Bounty in Mali, killing 22 men, of whom 19 were civilians. This terrible blunder was widely covered by the media at the time. But abuses committed in the following weeks and in the same region by the Malian army passed unnoticed. As Rémi Carayol reports, it would have been hard for French troops, who were on the ground with their Malian colleagues as part of a wide-ranging counter-insurgency operation, not to have been aware of what was going on. Yet the French military have remained silent about the incidents.

Revealed: how former hostage Sophie Pétronin secretly returned to Mali

International — Investigation

News emerged at the weekend that former French hostage Sophie Pétronin, 76, who was held captive for almost four years by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Mali until her release in October last year, secretly returned to the West African country in March, and has since been living with her adopted daughter in the capital Bamako. Her presence in the country was made public after the Malian authorities on Saturday issued a warrant for her arrest, for reasons that are still unclear. In this report for Mediapart, journalist Anthony Fouchard, who is close to Pétronin and her family, reveals the details of how the humanitarian worker, together with her son, succeeded in the long clandestine journey to Bamako.    

France pays official honours to soldier killed in Mali

International — Link

French soldier Maxime Blasco, 34, previously decorated for bravery in action during France's military intervention against jihadist forces in the Sahel region of Africa, and who died in combat in Mali last Friday, was posthumously awarded the Légion d'honneur and promoted to the rank of sergeant in a ceremony in Paris led by French President Emmanuel Macron.

French soldier killed in Mali gunfight

International — Link

Lance corporal Maxime Blasco, 34, was fatally wounded on Friday by a hidden sniper during clashes between French troops and 'around ten' jihadists in Mali, close to the Burkina Faso border, a French armed forces ministry spokesman said, which brings to 52 the number of French military personnel who have died in the region since France launched its anti-jihadist operations in 2013.

Bastille Day parade returns with Sahel forces in top billing

France — Link

European special forces involved in anti-jihadist operations in west Africa's Sahel region were given prime position in the traditional Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on 14 July.

Mali: Protesters call for French troops to leave

France — Link

Some demonstrators waved Russian flags and held banners calling for greater cooperation between Mali and Russia.

Car bomb targets French forces in Mali

International — Link

The attack occurred in the Kaigourou neighbourhood of Gossi in central Mali injuring several soldiers operating under France's Operation Barkhane in the Sahel.