Time for “Plan B”

Mali: The CMA says it will take up arms against Russian mercenaries

By Manon Laplace

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Posted on October 1, 2021 13:10

Firefox_Screenshot_2021-09-30T15-13-54.689Z © Tuareg CMA fighters drive near Kidal, northern Mali in 2016. AFP
Tuareg CMA fighters drive near Kidal, northern Mali in 2016. AFP

The prospect of an agreement between the Malian authorities and Russia’s Wagner Group is worrying the former rebel groups in the ‘Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad’ (CMA). The coalition believes that such a deal would undermine the 2015 peace agreement.

The Malian authorities are no longer hiding from it. After France’s ‘absolute abandonment’, which is how prime minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga described the announced restructuring of the Barkhane operation on 25 September, Bamako must now move on to its ‘plan B’ to ensure its security.

As discussions get underway with Moscow, the possibility that Mali may make a deal with the Wagner Group’s mercenaries already has some countries up in arms. Among them are Western countries, led by France, and northern Mali, where the CMA has warned Bamako about joining forces with mercenaries.

The CMA, which brings together several groups from the former independence rebellion, is clearly opposed to this possible deal. “It is the civilian populations – that have already been battered and weakened by a decade of crisis – who will pay the price for employing mercenaries from the Wagner Group, [which is]

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