This is the first time that the main jihadist coalition in the Sahel region linked to al-Qaeda has announced the arrest of a Russian soldier who is engaged in the battle front against the jihadists in the country.
The Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) has arrested a Russian member of the Wagner militia, according to a press release in the name of this jihadist formation sent to AFP on the night of Sunday to Monday 25 April.
This is the first time that the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), which is linked to Al-Qaeda, has announced the arrest of a Russian soldier involved in the front lines of the fight against jihadists in Mali. However, the GSIM did not provide any evidence to certify the correctness of its announcement made in a press release from Sunday night to Monday. Led by the army since 2020, Mali has made massive appeals for what it presents as “coacheswho came from Russia to support its army, while Paris and Washington regularly denounce their presence in a country.”mercenariesFrom the private Russian Wagner Group, the accusations vehemently denied by Bamako.
that it “During the first week of Aprilwhich GSIM claims to ownThe capture of a soldier of the Russian Wagner forces in the Segou regionIn the center of Mali. “These deadly forces participated with the Malian army in a parachute operation on a market in the village of Mora, where they confronted many of the Mujahideen before encircling this district for five days and killing hundreds of innocent civilians.The GSIM press release, in Arabic, adds without further details about the link between the arrest of the Russian and the events of Mora.
At the end of March, this city was the scene of a controversial operation by the Malian army. According to the Bamako authorities, the Malian soldiers there “neutralize203 jihadists, but the NGO Human Rights Watch accuses members of the Malian Armed Forces (Fama) of summarily executing 300 civilians there, with the help of foreign fighters. Since then, the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has asked the Malian authorities, without success, to allow it to go there to investigate in order to shed light on these events.
According to identical sources, a Russian citizen was killed in an operation with Malian soldiers on April 19 in central Mali. Il s’agit du premier décès confirmé d’un Russe dans le cadre d’opérations militaires dans le pays depuis que la junte a pris le pouvoir en 2020. With “Cars packed with explosivesAgainst three military camps in the center of the country. In an audio message sent to AFP, Masina’s writer, Fulani preacher Amadou Koufa, claimed responsibility for these operations. This group of fighters belongs to Iyad Ag Ghaly, the head of GSIM.
Among other damages, the Malian army reported “Helicopter slightly damagedIn a video that first appeared online on Sunday, a Russian-designed Malian army-colored helicopter is seen damaged on the ground. In these photos, which AFP could not verify or date, two white men appear to be surreptitiously next to each other. They are Malian soldiers.According to a document from a diplomatic source recently consulted by AFP, nearly all helicopters in Mali are flown by Russians with the help of Malian pilots.
Since 2012, Mali has been mired in a deep security crisis that the deployment of foreign forces has not been able to solve. The junta has moved closer to Moscow at the same time as it has moved away from France, which has been militarily involved in the country against jihadists since 2013. From the north of the country, jihadist violence has spread toward the center and south before the conflict has become more complex with the emergence of communal militias and criminal gangs. The conflict has killed thousands of civilians and fighters, and central Mali is currently one of the main centers of the Sahel crisis.
see also In the Sahel region, the French army accuses Russian mercenaries Wagner of tampering