Moscow expects Paris to help with investigations instead of taking advantage of it to tarnish the image of the Malian army
Western media may be tempted to blame Mali’s military for alleged atrocities after a mass grave was discovered near a French forces camp in central Mali, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. , as he called for a full investigation into the matter.
“We support the decision of the Malian authorities to investigate the circumstances of this crime in the most thorough way,” the ministry said, adding that it expected “Paris to contribute effectively to the investigations into the murders and disappearance of Malian citizens.”
The statement came just days after videos emerged on social media purporting to show a mass grave with dozens of bodies discovered in a military camp once occupied by French forces taking part in Operation Barkhane in Mali and African countries. neighbors.
The Malian army (FAMA) confirmed on Friday evening that it had discovered a mass grave near the former French camp of Gossi, in central Mali. French forces left the “advanced operational base” on Tuesday and handed it over to the Malian military. The base would have accommodated hundreds of French soldiers.
the “The advanced state of putrefaction of the bodies indicates that the mass grave existed long before the surrender”, FAMA said, adding that the “responsibility for this act” can “under no circumstances be attributed” to Malian soldiers. The country’s defense ministry said it would open an investigation into the matter.
The French army quickly reacted to the development of the situation by qualifying the incident as part of a “information warfare” and blame the Wagner Group – a private Russian paramilitary organization deployed around the world, including in Mali and other African countries.
The French military also claimed it had drone footage purportedly showing Wagner Group paramilitaries burying bodies near the base after the French withdrawal. “Very precise information leads us to say that these are Wagner’s men. We don’t doubt it.” the French army told Le Monde.
The log, however, indicates that the video quality “does not make it possible to determine the skin color of the people surrounding the corpses”, and limits itself to saying that their military uniforms do not correspond to those of the Malian army.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that some French media or public officials could be “tried to spread a [certain] narrative in the media directed against the Malian army. The success of the Malian army could “upset” Paris since French forces failed to achieve similar results during their mission in the country, the ministry added.
France launched Operation Barkhane in 2014, in partnership with five former colonies in the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) and with the support of a small number of European states.
The coalition’s goal was to prevent the region from becoming a haven for Islamist terrorist groups. Macron, however, announced in July 2021 that the operation would end in the first quarter of 2022.
Relations between Paris and Bamako deteriorated after Mali suffered two coups in the space of two years and the ruling military junta refused to hold elections in February. Mali, which is still fighting an Islamist insurgency, has asked France to curb its “colonial reflexes” in January.
You can share this story on social media: