The Wagner Group in Africa

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says Mali authorities asked Russia’s private military company Wagner to support Mali in fight against terrorism. “The German military contingent may be withdrawn from Mali if the forces of the Wagner Group appear in the country” – Berlin issued a warning


France is worried in high places of discussions between Bamako and the Russian private military company Wagner, which could lead to the deployment of a thousand Russian paramilitaries in Mali, according to corroborating sources.

The arrival of these troops could call into question France’s commitment in Mali, where its soldiers have been fighting jihadist groups for eight years.

According to a French source familiar with the matter, the junta in power in Bamako is studying the possibility of concluding a contract with Wagner for the deployment of a thousand Russian paramilitaries in Mali to train its armed forces (FAMa) and ensure the protection of the leaders.

A West African security source, for his part, told AFP that Wagner was negotiating to arrive in force in Mali, for money and with mining counterparts. These sources confirmed information revealed by Reuters.

Daily Sabah

Known for its heavy presence in war-torn Libya, the Russian security company Wagner Group is reportedly expanding throughout the African continent, meddling in conflicts and working in favor of the Kremlin’s interests.

Formed back in 2014 in Ukraine and owned by businessperson Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner Group is intensely involved in several conflicts not only in Ukraine but also across the world, from the Middle East to Latin America. The most well-known presence of the group, however, has taken place in Syria and Libya, where Russia has actively participated in the civil war and reportedly used the Wagner Group as its proxy in the region. Although Russia officially does not acknowledge any cooperation with the Wagner Group, the reports from the field prove otherwise.

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New America

Russian private military security contractors (PMSCs) are pivotal players in ongoing proxy wars in the Greater Middle East and its periphery. They provide targeting intelligence, training, logistical support, infrastructure protection, and backstop proxy militias and paramilitary groups in key hotspots around the world, including Ukraine, Syria, and Libya. Their covert operations—real and imagined—are also critical in shaping Russia’s strategy for escalation management as well as relations with adversaries and allies.

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The Africa Report

The contract between Mali and Russia’s Wagner Group stipulates that 1,000 Russian mercenaries will be deployed. Paris is trying to prevent it from being finalised.