Has the end of Operation Barkhane and the use of Russian mercenaries from Wagner, deployed alongside the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA), really enabled Bamako to overturn the power balance with jihadist groups? A propaganda battle has been raging for several months on social networks and in the media. On the ground, things are clearly much more complex. How has the number of civilian casualties evolved? How far has the jihadist threat spread and how close is it to Bamako?
The latest example of the struggle to influence West African opinion was Wagner’s dissemination of a cartoon in late January. French soldiers are depicted as zombies alongside Russian mercenaries coming to the rescue of Malian soldiers.