In a significant move, the United States announced imposing economic sanctions on three Malian soldiers, including the current Minister of Defense, for their alleged involvement in aiding the deployment and expansion of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner in Mali.
The sanctioned individuals are Colonel Sadio Camara, Minister of Defense, who also holds French nationality, Colonel Alou Boi Diarra, and Lieutenant-Colonel Adama Bagayoko, both officials in the Malian Air Force.
The US Treasury stated that evidence supports the claim that these officials played a role in facilitating the malicious activities of the Wagner group within Mali. Brian Nelson, the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, emphasized that today’s action exposes key Malian officials who have contributed to the Wagner Group’s establishment in Mali over the past two years.
The sanctions freeze the assets of these officials in the United States and prohibit them from engaging in transactions with American individuals or companies.
According to Washington, the presence of the Wagner group in Mali since December 2021 has coincided with a drastic increase in civilian casualties by 278%, largely attributed to operations conducted jointly by the Malian armed forces and Wagner group members.
It is worth noting that the United States had previously imposed economic sanctions on the Wagner group in June 2017 and reiterated them in January.
The future of the Wagner group, which has been involved in conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, and several African countries, is now uncertain following the 24-hour rebellion led by its leader, Yevgeny Prigojine, in Russia in June. Moscow stated that the group’s future in Africa would be contingent on the stance of the countries involved
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