In Josie, the information war hostages between Wagner and Barkhan

Testimonials – Recommendations – While the Malian army accuses France of “espionage” for its use of a drone, and a disinformation attempt by Russian mercenaries is thwarted, the people of northern Mali search for their dead and succumb to a climate of fear.

The crescent moon was spotted in the sky of Mali. The Malian government decided the end of Ramadan on April 30, and the feast began. But in the Hassan family*, in Josie, the heart is not in the party. Since the existence of a mass grave was revealed by a double video clip, one of Wagner’s mercenaries accusing Barkhane, and the other of the French forces denouncing the formation, the Malian no longer has any news of his two cousins. And are they part of those half-buried corpses under the sand, around which the images of unknown white soldiers are busy?

The question haunts us“Hassan slips. On the financial side, the army accused Barkhane of “…sabotage“Based on”excitementThe use of a drone to photograph the scene is also referred to as “.to spy“.The harshness of your tone of voice is unprecedented but what about the bodies? First it says that it was.”False pictures fabricated from scratchThe Ministry of Defense opened an investigation on the same day. Between these contradictory accounts, residents fall into a dilemma. “We just note that there is a divorce between Barkhane and FAMA, and that all shots are allowed. For the rest, we’re in complete uncertainty.Hassan says.

see also In Mali, the military junta “denounces” defense agreements with France

FAMA news report the day before in Hombori

Long distances and a faulty network do the rest. In the heart of the desert information is not circulated or poorly. When Barkhan, on April 17, arrested six suspects not far away, shepherds, including an old man, and his two sons, the day before he left, news spread like wildfire. Were these bodies later found in the mass grave? The rumors won’t stop until they are released a week later, but the operation is going poorly on the part of an army that is supposed to be on their way out. “All foreign forces, whether Russian or French, are harmfula civil society member comments on social networks. As long as there are multiple forces, our residents will continue to be mistreated and the perpetrators unknown.“.

Jacob* has another hypothesis. This Mali was on show in the neighboring city of Homburi, on April 19. “To supply me, like every weekOn the same day, the Malian armed forces and their Russian aides stormed. A car explodes in their convoy. In this mined area with a strong jihadist presence, any villager is considered a suspect. They shot, in sad memory of the Mora massacre, a few weeks ago, in Central Mali.Some people died on the spot, and others were released after being tortured. But others are still missingJacob says.

When he saw the convoy of the Malian army returning to Josie early the next day, the young man grabbed his phone and called everyone he knew in the villages and on the road, warning them not to go down the road…shelter. “It only takes four hours to get to Josie by car, but they only arrived at 6pm. What were they doing in the meantime? They stopped and moved people along the way, that’s for sure“He believes in knowing Mali.

see also – What do we know about the manipulation organized by Russian mercenaries with Wagner in Mali?

Doubt and fear

If Minusma said he was concerned about abuses in Hombori, the Malian army remained silent. Yacouba, a graduate of the University of Bamako, took the initiative with several relatives to identify the missing. “Every day, someone calls me to tell me: I have a brother I haven’t heard from, like this uncle‘, he says. Thirty names are already there. Another list, prepared by the residents of nearby villages, counts the dead and wounded. With this urgent appeal at the bottom of the page: “CInformation to be verified. We want supplements in case you have any! This is how we will go forward“.”We are searching, we are still looking for the missing, but everything leads us to believe that these bodies are the people who disappeared in HomburiJacob repeats.

In fact, we fear Wagner much more than terrorists. Terrorists never came to destroy the market.”

Jacob*, a resident of Josi

In fact, the young man finds it hard to believe Barkhane’s responsibility. “I cannot say whether this or that army did it. But, personally, I’ll blame the part that takes the side of ignoring, saying it doesn’t existhe decided. Barkhane has been there since 2013. If they committed massacres, no one would be left in the area“. an opinion shared by Deco*, one of Jussi’s leading figures.”I think if Barkhane had committed such abuses, he would have taken the time to better conceal the victims. The soldiers had very good relations with the people of Josi“.

After the last French soldier left the base two weeks ago, residents expect a difficult period. The weekly Hombori Market and Gossi Market are closed until further notice. “We live in fear. Wagner is actually more afraid of terrorists. Terrorists never came to destroy the marketJacob says. What hurts about these massacres is that we, the population, have become a game between the forces: terrorists on one side and armies on the other. It’s really outrageous. My anger is great“.

*Name and positions have been changed for security reasons


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