The French army claims to have photographed Russian mercenaries burying their bodies

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The French army accuses Russian mercenaries of trying to get the soldiers of Operation Barkhane to carry out the violations near the Jossi base in northern Mali. The crew denounced a “media attack” when the keys to the base were officially handed over to the Malian armed forces.

The French military has filmed what it claims are Russian mercenaries burying their bodies near the Jossi base in northern Mali. According to the soldiers, these individuals were in the process of creating a mass grave from scratch with the aim of accusing the French of being responsible for it.

This case comes as the French army announced, in the context of its disengagement from Mali, in February, that it officially handed over, on Tuesday, to the Malian Armed Forces (Fama) the keys to the Jossi base, which hosted 300 French soldiers.

The next day, in the evening, a message was posted on Twitter. “A novel that we know is wrong about an individual impersonating a Malian soldier, warns that images of dead bodies and mass graves will be broadcast,” Wassim Nasr, a journalist at France 24, told France 24. French army portrait.

Thursday, April 21, the account is already posting a photo of blurred bodies buried in the sand, with the caption: “This is what the French left behind when they left the base in #Gossi (…) We can’t keep silence about it!”


‘media attack’

Wassim Nasr explains: “Except that the French armies captured the same scene by aerial means. In these photos, we actually see individuals filming the scene after it was posted on social media.”


The Malian armed forces escort personnel from the Caucasus at the Jossi base, April 20, 2022. © French Army

In this video captured by aerial means, accessed by France 24, which the French General Staff describes as a “media attack”, we can see Caucasian soldiers busy around the corpses they cover in sand.

“This is the first time that the French military has decided to reveal these images, usually secret, to denounce the disinformation,” the journalist continues. “It’s a way of taking the lead in demonstrating the journey of this misinformation.”

Personnel from the Caucasus observed burial of bodies 3.5 kilometers from the Josi base at 9:50 am on April 21, 2022.
Personnel from the Caucasus observed burial of bodies 3.5 kilometers from the Josi base at 9:50 am on April 21, 2022. © French Army

The Twitter account is most likely a fake account created by the Russian private military company Wagner, French staff have estimated.

“This maneuver to discredit Barkhane’s force appears coordinated. It represents the multiple media attacks against French soldiers several months ago,” the crew continued.

Caucasian personnel photograph freshly buried bodies 3.5 kilometers from the Josi base on April 21, 2022.
Caucasian personnel photograph freshly buried bodies 3.5 kilometers from the Josi base on April 21, 2022. © French Army

Paris decided its military withdrawal from Mali in a deteriorating security context and against the backdrop of tensions between France and the ruling military council, which the Westerners accuse of using the services of the Wagner Group. Bamako, for its part, evokes simple Russian advisers.

And the staff warned, Tuesday, to expect media attacks on the occasion of the handover of the Josi base. His spokesman, Colonel Pascal Ine, had specified that a “documented” inventory of the base had been drawn up to protect France from possible accusations. A reference to the anti-French sentiment that spread in the region and made France the subject of smear campaigns on social networks. Colonel Iani recalls: “Several months ago, French forces were accused of participating in smuggling (…), arming terrorists and even committing abuses.”

Assumptions made by the Wagner Group?

The French military also believes that “comparing the images posted on Twitter and the images collected by the specialized sensor makes it possible to directly link what the Wagner mercenaries do to what is wrongly attributed to French soldiers.” According to her, “these exterminations testify to the methods of action carried out by the Wagner mercenaries, which have been observed in the Central African Republic since its spread and which have been denounced by many international organizations and NGOs.”

“Since the beginning of March, several massacres have been recorded in central Mali. According to eyewitnesses, Wagner’s forces are present systematically”, with a large number of Wassim Nasr.

Various massacres have been recorded in central Mali since the beginning of March.
Various massacres have been recorded in central Mali since the beginning of March. © France 24

with AFP

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