First photos of Wagner Group operating in Mali hit social media

Spread the love

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. 

Issued on:

2 min


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.

We’ve never seen such images of the Wagner group in Mali. Up until now, the photos of the mercenaries posted on social media were clearly taken secretly. The photos showed the backs of the mercenaries or were taken from far off. But this time, they let themselves be filmed because they wanted to show off their victory, that they really were in Kidal itself. It’s a message to the West to let them know that they took back this strategic town, which was very difficult, and which had been in the hands of the Tuaregs since 2013. 

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.

The third image shows a local man taking a photo with a Wagner mercenary on November 14. Journalist Souleymane Ag Anara’s tweet says, in French, that these are the first photos of Russian mercenaries in Kidal.

Several NGOs have accused Wagner mercenaries of human rights abuses in Mali. The Malian Armed Forces, along with foreign fighters believed to be members of the Wager Group, have executed or disappeared dozens of civilians in central Mali since December 2022, according to Human Rights Watch in a report published in July 2023.

These photos of Wagner fighters were probably taken by people living in Kidal on November 14. Journalist Souleymane Ag Anara’s tweet questions, in French, why the Russian mercenaries in Kidal are allowing locals to take their pictures. It’s a first in the history of their presence in the country.

In the videos and photos shared on X (formerly known as Twitter), local people seem to be treating the Wagner fighters as liberators. In one video, a crowd chants “Mali ! Mali!” with enthusiasm.

The people who appear in these videos aren’t Tuaregs, they have dark skin. These celebrations might make the Tuareg separatists angry and, if they retake the town, then there could be more violence.

There have been reports posted on social media that the homes of Songhai people, who belong to a minority ethnic group with darker skin, have been looted. We have been unable to independently verify these accusations for the time being, but we are working on contacting witnesses.

There have already been instances of fighting between the Tuareg and Songhai residents of Kidal in the past. In June 2013, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a Tuareg organisation that was, at the time, in control of Kidal, carried out a wave of arrests of black people accused of being “spies for the Malian government.”

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected] Follow our WhatsApp verified Channel210520-twitter-verified-cs-70cdee.jpg (1500×750)

Support Independent Journalism with a donation (Paypal, BTC, USDT, ETH)

News Agencies

About Author

The latest news from the News Agencies

You may also like

Saudi Arabia imposes curfew

Saudi Arabia imposes curfew due to coronavirus in Makkah and Madina

Spread the loveSaudi Arabia’s government has decided to impose a 24-hour curfew in Makkah and Madina while tightening precautionary measures
saudi royal family

Dozens of Saudi royal family infected with coronavirus: report

Spread the loveRiyadh: 150 members of the Saudi royal family have been diagnosed with Coronavirus.   According to a US