Africom confirms Wagner's presence in Mali

General Stephen Townsend, Commander of Africom since July 2019 (illustration image).

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP

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The Commander of Africom, the unified command for Africa which coordinates all American military activities on the continent, recognizes the presence of the private Russian group Wagner, in Mali.

General Stephen Townsend spoke Friday, January 21 on the public radio Voice of America.

This is the first time that the American authorities have expressed the presence of Russian mercenaries in Mali.

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"

Wagner is in Mali,

" says the commander of Africom bluntly.

They are several hundred.

The whole world sees it, and it concerns us

 ,” he continues.

According to General Townsend, Wagner is supported by Russian military aircraft for his deployment. 

It's an open secret,

" adds a French military source.

Few private companies can afford jumbo jets,

” he concludes.

The use of Russian army planes by Wagner's mercenaries has already been pointed out in other theaters of operation.

In March 2021, a United Nations report on the Central African Republic mentions it.

In July 2020, Africom publishes several aerial images of Russian cargo planes in Libya. 

Mali continues to deny the presence of the Wagner group on its territory.

Bamako, on the other hand, has always claimed a military partnership with Russia. 

 To deploy Wagner needs intelligence, logistical support, etc.

explains a security analyst.

We have to stop splitting hairs, there are connections between the Russian army and Wagner.

Both work in the interests of Russia, 

” he concludes.

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  • mali

  • Russia

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