Mali accuses France of providing intelligence and weapons to terrorists

By Mathieu Olivier
Posted on Monday, 22 August 2022 11:24

Mali's Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop attends a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart after their meeting in Moscow, 20 May 2022. ©YURI KADOBNOV/POOL/AFP

The showdown between Mali and France continues at the United Nations in New York. Bamako has referred the matter to the UN Security Council, claiming to have evidence of Paris' support for Malian terrorist groups.

Will the next battle in the diplomatic war between France and Mali be fought in New York? Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop wrote to the UN Security Council on 16 August to demand an emergency meeting on the situation in his country. In his letter, the diplomatic chief multiplies the accusations against France and its soldiers – the last of whom officially left Malian territory on 15 August.

According to our information, Bamako has once again denounced what it says are France’s repeated violations of Mali’s airspace. The government of transitional president Assimi Goïta had already reported similar incursions in January and April last year, while Paris denied the allegations. Diop says in his letter that he has evidence and is ready to present it to the Security Council.

The Wagner Group’s shadow?

In the same letter, the Malian diplomat goes further, claiming to have evidence indicating that France collected intelligence in Mali in order to provide it to certain terrorist groups. According to Diop, Paris has also delivered arms and ammunition to these groups. Here again, Bamako says it can provide credible evidence to the members of the Security Council.

On 7 August, simultaneous attacks attributed to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) left 42 people dead and many wounded among the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA). In its communiqué, the Directorate of Information and Public Relations of the Armed Forces (DIRPA) immediately implied external complicity.

“The clandestine and uncoordinated operations recorded by FAMA confirm the thesis that the terrorists benefited from major support and external expertise,” DIRPA said, presumably referring to the alleged French air incursions.

The 16 August missive aggravates the tensions already present between Paris and Bamako, particularly since the official departure of Operation Barkhane from Mali and the arrival of Wagner’s mercenaries in the country in late 2021. France sees the junta’s repeated accusations, which it claims are completely unfounded and insulting to the French soldiers who died in Mali, as the work of Moscow’s proxies.

The influence of the Moscow contingent could grow even stronger in Bamako, as Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maïga is currently on forced rest after a stroke. According to our sources, the convalescent has been temporarily replaced in his post by a junta strongman, Defence Minister Sadio Camara. The latter was the main architect of Wagner’s arrival in his country in 2021.

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