The Malian government is reportedly close to signing an agreement to allow Russian instructors to arrive in Mali to train the West African country’s army.
An agreement is said to be close to being reached between the Russian security company Wagner and the Malian government, with the aim of training Malian soldiers, who are struggling to cope with repeated terrorist assaults, which are causing many casualties in their ranks.
According to information provided by Reuters, which cites diplomatic sources, the French authorities are reportedly scrambling to prevent the signing of such an agreement. Better still, the media outlet reports, France has just sent Christophe Bigot to try to break the agreement.
Reuters reports that about 1,000 Russian instructors will be involved in the agreement. In addition to training Malian army soldiers, the Russian private security group Wagner instructors should also be responsible for protecting Malian authorities.
Reuters also reports that the Wagner security group is expected to pocket CFAF 6 billion per month for this training workshop. Recalling that Wagner’s private security group is headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
If this agreement is concluded, it will not be the first time these Russian instructors will sign their presence in Africa. They are indeed present in the Central African Republic, where they carry out surveillance and security missions, both for individuals and officials. In fact, last week, one of them was shot by armed men.
These Russians in the Central African Republic subsequently carried out reprisals, which have been denounced. However, the arrival of Russian instructors coincides with the gradual withdrawal of French soldiers from the Sahel, decided by French President Emmanuel Marcon, who announced the end of Operation Barkhane in conjunction with a reduction in French military personnel in Mali.