Ouattara warns of Wagner’s involvement in Mali

Any Mali decision to hire the Russian secret company Wagner to help fight Islamist terrorists will be a “suicide” and a “red line” in other West African countries, Alassane Ouattara, President of Ivory Coast.

The Malian military government, which seized power in to seize in May, he defended his right to “seek out others” after criticizing France for leaving the country in its time to fight terrorism.

In July, Emmanuel Macron, President of France, said planned to reduce the number of troops sent to the Sahel, also known as Operation Barkhane, to 2,500 and to move the military base from Mali to Niger.

On weekends, Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, said Mali had asked for help from Russian business companies after realizing that “their capacity would not be complete without foreign aid”. Lavrov denied that the Russian government had joined the alliance with Mali saying it was close to recruiting 1,000 Russian troops.

In an exclusive interview with the Financial Times, Ouattara, who began the controversy in November last year, said that if the Malian government continued to hire Wagner, he would be left to deal with growing risks.

“First, the French have withdrawn their troops. The Germans have said the same thing. And I believe the UN will start crushing Minusma, ”he said, referring to the 15,000-strong UN force. “What about Mali? They cannot wage war on their own. ”

In Wagner’s case, he said: “It’s the military. We know what they did in Syria, in the Donbas [eastern Ukraine] and in the Central African Republic. ”

Alassane Ouattara: Wagner writing will be Mali’s ‘suicide’ and ‘red line’ in other West African countries © Issouf Sanogo / AFP via Getty Pictures

United Nations investigators say Wagner’s women are being abused by Wagner in the Central African Republic. In 2018, Wagner’s employees are said to be involved he participated in the threats on American troops in Syria.

Choguel Kokalla Maiga, Mali’s prime minister, speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York, criticized France’s decision to send a military force.

“New developments at the end of Operation Barkhane put Mali at the forefront it’s happened, ”He said. “It leads us to explore ways and means to ensure that we are safe freely or with our peers.”

“Once you have more troops on the ground,… And I will send new tanks to the Sahel, it is not the country that needs a way out,” Florence Parly, France’s defense minister, denied.

But Ouattara said he understood France’s idea of ​​reducing its activities, which began with the intervention in 2013 when French troops helped liberate northern Mali from Muslims.

In addition to reducing its workload, France is expected to change the situation in Niger which, along with Burkina Faso, has been encouraged. growing terrorists.

“They can do what we asked them to do,” Ouattara said as he entered France from Mali. “We must not continue to rely on outside groups to protect our families.”

Mali and other countries affected by terrorism are expected to launch operations, train and train troops, Ouattara said. “Last year, I told them, it’s clear: the French are leaving soon,” he said, adding that West African countries need to work together to address the threats that terrorist groups have been able to move freely in many border areas.

Ouattara said his government had also encouraged the military to follow a series of demonstrations along the country’s northern border, including the one in June 2020. 14 soldiers killed at Kafolo near the border with Burkina Faso.

“We are trying to do everything we can, with more troops, better equipment, better military facilities and sending troops to the border,” he said, referring to the northern border of Ivory Coast and Mali and Burkina Faso.

Ouattara, who was outraged when he ran for a third term after being elected to replace him he died Shortly before last year’s election, he expressed his concern about the unstable growth in the area where leaders want to run for office and the terrorists have returned. This month, the military defeated Alpha Condé, Guinea’s president, who changed the law shortly after last year’s election to allow him to run for a third term.

Ouattara criticized Condé but said he condemned all coups and called for a speedy restoration of democracy. West African leaders had earlier told Mali’s spies that they were due to hold elections by February and return to the barracks. “We can’t move on from this,” he said. “If not, we still encourage it.”

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