Mali Slams French ‘Flagrant Violations’ of Sovereignty: Annuls Defence Ties

Following the eviction of French and European forces from its territory earlier in the year, the West African state of Mali has slammed “flagrant violations” of its sovereignty by France and announced that the country would pull out of existing defence accords with Paris. This follows reports of civilian mass graves being discovered near the operating areas of French forces, which have been accused of committing war crimes against the population before the coming to power of a new government in 2020 led to tighter restrictions on French activities in the country. Malian Army Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga stated regarding the decision to cut defence ties: “For some time now, the government of the Republic of Mali notes with regret a profound deterioration in military cooperation with France.” Bamako previously claimed in April that French drones had violated Malian airspace to survey its forces as relations deteriorated, with concerns of a Western response to the country’s policy shift prompting the formation of closer defence ties with neighbouring Russia and Algeria for support. Russian state affiliated Wagner Group military contractors have since deployed to the country, reportedly partly financed by Algeria, to help provide security, while Mali has also received military helicopters as aid from Russia. 

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