BAMAKO – Mali accuses France of violating its airspace and delivering weapons to anti-government armed groups, calling for an …
emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to investigate the French government’s activities to destabilize the West African country,
Mali’s foreign minister has written a letter to the U.N. Security Council denouncing violations of Mali’s airspace by the French Air Force. Minister Abdoulaye Diop also accuses the French military of supporting Islamic jihadists in the north of the country as an attempt to destabilize and overthrow the military junta that came to power through the 2021 coup.
The Malian foreign minister’s accusations are not light: that France would provide arms, ammunition, and intelligence to the jihadist terrorists raging in Mali. The letter written by Abdoulaye Diop is dated August 15, the minister begins by listing a series of cases presented as “repeated and frequent violations of Malian airspace by French forces”: “drones, helicopters or fighter planes would fly over Mali” without authorization ” from Bamako.
About fifty cases have been recorded since the beginning of the year. Abdoulaye Diop denounces “espionage activities” and, even more seriously, “supplies of weapons, ammunition, equipment and food” parachuted by the French army into territories controlled by Islamic terrorists, as in Labezanga on August 8. Mali has, according to Minister Diop, “several elements” proving that these illegal incursions into the Malian sky have “used France to gather intelligence for the benefit of terrorist groups” “and to supply them with weapons and ammunition.”
A week ago, after the attack on the Tessit camp that claimed the lives of 42 Malian soldiers, the Malian army claimed to have recorded “clandestine and uncoordinated overflight operations” proving that the terrorists-in this case the Sahelian branch of the Islamic State Group-had benefited from “important external support and expertise.”
As early as last April, Mali denounced violations of its airspace by the French military. It was soon after the Gossi mass grave episode: bodies buried near a military camp returned by Barkhane to Malian forces. Mass grave attributed by Mali to French soldiers and by France to the Malian army and Russian mercenaries of the Wagner group. Paris at the time denied any violation of Malian airspace and denounced attempts at “disinformation. ” Faced with the new allegations no official reaction from France was registered.
In his letter, the head of Malian diplomacy calls for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and threatens, “in the event that the persistence of this attitude that undermines the stability and security of our country, Mali reserves the right to use force to defend its country ”
Because nature detests a vacuum, Russia appears not to have waited long to send its troops to Mali, where the Russian paramilitary group Wagner already operates. German blue helmets observed, on Monday, August 15, the presence of dozens of members of the Russian security forces at the airport in Gao, in the north of the country, even as France announced that it had completed the withdrawal of the last of its soldiers.
According to a document prepared by the German Federal Defense Force command, dated Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, and viewed by Reuters news agency, German and British soldiers belonging to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force noticed the presence of two aircraft at Gao airport, including an L- 39 Albatros.
“Two hours later, 20 or 30 people dressed in non-Malian army uniforms were seen unloading equipment from a Malian aircraft,” the paper states. “They were definitely members of the Russian security forces, since the L-39 was probably flown by Russian soldiers, the Malian forces were unable to do so,” the document reads. A captain from the French military force Barkhane confirmed that he had already come across Russian mercenaries and soldiers during patrols. For its part, Bamako denies the presence of mercenaries, and rather evokes “instructors” from Russia to support its army while Russia speaks of a “commercial” contract between Wagner and Mali, unrelated to Moscow.
The Kremlin is suspected of preparing an upcoming military operation in Mali aimed at defeating Islamic terrorists. According to Nicolas Normand, former French ambassador to Mali, there are nearly a thousand mercenaries belonging to this company in the country.