Mali has been facing political and security challenges for many years now. Recently, the country’s relationship with France, a former colonial power, has been in a state of decline, while its ties with Russia have grown stronger. This shift in alliances has led to a number of significant events and developments in the region.
Last year, the breakdown in relations between France and Mali led to the withdrawal of all French troops from the country. These troops had been deployed since 2013 to combat militants operating in the region. The withdrawal of these troops has left a significant security vacuum in Mali, which has since been filled by a growing presence of Russian private military contractors.
Recently, U.N experts called for an independent investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Malian government forces and the Russian Wagner Group, a private military contractor. The call for an investigation has raised serious questions about the role of these private military contractors in Mali and their impact on the local population.
Despite the concerns raised by U.N experts, the Malian government has defended its relationship with Russia, stating that the Russian forces in the country are not mercenaries but trainers who are helping local troops with equipment purchased from Russia. This statement has done little to quell concerns about the increasing presence of private military contractors in the region.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, is currently in Baghdad for talks aimed at improving bilateral ties and energy cooperation between the two countries. This visit to Iraq highlights the growing influence of Russia in the region and its increasing presence in countries such as Mali.
In conclusion, the shift in alliances from France to Russia in Mali has raised serious concerns about the future of the country and its impact on the region. As the presence of private military contractors in the country continues to grow, it will be important for the international community to closely monitor the situation and ensure that human rights and the rule of law are protected.