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First photos of Wagner Group operating in Mali hit social media

© Twitter / SimNasr

The Malian army took back the town of Kidal from a coalition of Tuareg separatists known as the Permanent Strategic Framework for Peace, Security and Development (CSP) on November 14, with help from mercenaries with the Russian military contractor, the Wagner Group. The Wagner mercenaries allowed local people to take their picture – a first since the group was first deployed in the country in 2021.

After a month and a half of fighting, the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) took back the town of Kidal from the Permanent Strategic Framework for Peace, Security and Development (CSP) on November 14, with help from mercenaries with the Russian military contractor the Wagner Group.

There has been long-standing tension between the Malian government, based in Bamako, and the Tuareg population based in the north of the country, who feel marginalised and have had successive independence movements. These tensions have their roots in ethnic divisions between the lighter-skinned Tuareg and the majority population of Mali, which is darker-skinned.

'It’s a message to the West to let them know that they took back this strategic town'

Souleymane Ag Anara is a freelance journalist. He often reports from Kidal.

Kidal is a historic bastion of separatist and rebel movements. Most of the people living there fled before the arrival of the Malian Armed Forces and their Wagner allies. Mali’s transitional government has denied that the mercenaries are operating in the country, although they do refer to “military instructors” who are on the ground, helping them fight terrorism.


Read more on The Observers - France 24