US warns Mali about Russian mercenary interference in the country

Due to the control exercised by the mercenaries of the Wagner company over the Central African Armed Forces, the European Union decided to temporarily suspend the training actions.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Mali this Wednesday of the financial consequences and the destabilization of the country, which is already facing a wave of “jihadist” violence if the government recruits the group of Russian mercenaries Wagner.

The ruling military junta in Bamako is threatening to hire the services of the Russian private company, suspected of being close to President Vladimir Putin, to help fight the “jihadists”.

The United States of America (USA), followed by the European Union on Monday, imposed sanctions on the Wagner group, and Blinken today regretted Mali’s refusal to host additional UN troops, “which would have contributed to the protection of civilians”, he considered.

“Wagner forces, known for their destabilizing activities and human rights violations, will not bring peace to Mali. They will further destabilize the country,” the US secretary of state said.

“We urge Mali’s transitional government not to divert scarce budgetary resources from the fight against terrorism led by Mali’s armed forces,” he added.

Antony Blinken considered that Mali’s resources, including the mining concessions, should be returned to the Malians, “and not mortgaged for the benefit of foreign forces that are not accountable for their actions and that are used to abusing local populations and compromising the control that host countries exercise over their own territory”.

The secretary of state suggested in the statement that the partnership with the Wagner group could involve a monthly payment of 10 million dollars (about 9 million euros).

The head of US diplomacy had already warned the Wagner group about its possible involvement in Mali, last month, during a visit to Senegal.

Mali authorities have threatened to resort to the mercenary group after France’s decision to reduce its military force in the country, where it was fighting ‘jihadist’ groups.

French President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Bamako on Monday to meet Mali’s transitional president, Colonel Assimi Goita, who since August 2020 has been the country’s “strongman” following a successful coup and which strengthened power with a new military coup in May this year.

The presence of the Wagner group was reported in Ukraine, Syria, and in some African countries, namely the Central African Republic (RCA).

Regarding this country, the European Union (EU) announced today the temporary suspension of its mission to train the Central African Armed Forces (FACA), due to the “control exercised by the mercenaries of the Wagner company”.

“Due to the control exercised by the Wagner company mercenaries over the Central African Armed Forces, the European Union, concerned about the respect of International Humanitarian Law, decided to temporarily suspend the training actions”, announced General Jacques Langlade de Montgros, commander of the EU training mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM-RCA).

FACA training will resume “as soon as it is ensured that [EU]-trained Central African soldiers will not be used by Wagner’s mercenaries.”

The approximately 70 European instructors from EUTM-RCA, 20 of whom are Portuguese, will temporarily return to their countries.

The training actions of EUTM-RCA began on April 19, 2016, and between January 11, 2018, and July 8, 2019, and September 18, 2020, and September 11 of this year, it was led by Portuguese Brigadier Generals Hermínio Maio and Paulo Neves de Abreu, respectively.

Source: with Agencies


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