New Russians have set foot in the North-East of Mali.
“Several dozen” mercenaries from the paramilitary group Wagner arrived in Ménaka on Wednesday.
They took place on the military base returned Monday to the Malian army by the French.
The latter expect a new attempt to manipulate information to harm them, AFP learned from concordant sources.
Before leaving the advanced base of Ménaka on Monday, the penultimate stage of the departure of the anti-jihadist force Barkhane from the country, the French army had warned that it would be "very vigilant against information attacks".
She suspected possible maneuvers to harm her image, including the organization of anti-French demonstrations, accusations of collusion between Barkhane and the jihadists or even the burial of bodies to make believe in abuses committed by the French.
The French departure "in good order, in safety and in complete transparency"
The day after the previous handover of a French base, in April in Gossi, the French general staff had broadcast videos shot by a drone showing, according to him, paramilitaries from the Russian company Wagner burying bodies not far away. of the right-of-way, with a view to accusing France of war crimes.
The French departure Monday from the advanced base of Ménaka "was carried out in good order, in safety and in complete transparency, in a context where the Barkhane force faces regular information attacks aimed at tarnishing its action and its credibility", had commented at the start of the week the spokesman for the general staff, General Pascal Ianni.
Relations between the ruling junta in Bamako and Paris, a former colonial power, have deteriorated sharply in recent months, particularly since the arrival in Mali of paramilitaries from the Wagner group, pushing the two countries to break up after nine years of presence. uninterrupted French to fight against the jihadists.
The Ménaka base is located in the region known as the three borders, on the borders of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, in which the French soldiers have long fought to hinder the establishment of jihadist groups affiliated with the Islamic State ( IS).
Mali: Junta claims to have foiled coup attempt
Mali: Before its withdrawal, France captures a senior member of the Islamic State group