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EU suspends Mali training

Brigadier General Christian Riener, EUTM Mali's Austrian commander, oversees training in Sévaré in March. (European Union Training Mission Mali)

The European Union has suspended some training for Malian forces due to influence of the Russian private military company Wagner Group in the country, its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced on 11 April.

He said the suspension covered training courses run by both the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) Mali and EUCAP Sahel Mali civilian crisis management mission and applied to both the Armed Forces of Mali (FAMa) and the National Guard, which is a FAMa component.

Borrell said that events had forced the EU suspension. “There are not sufficient guarantees from the transitional authorities on the non-interference of the famous Wagner company, which is beginning to become responsible for the sad events that have caused hundreds of deaths in Mali recently.”

That was an apparent reference to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report citing numerous corroborating sources as saying foreign soldiers were involved in killing a large number of unarmed men who were detained in Moura, in central Mali, in late March.

In an earlier statement, the FAMa reported killing 203 armed terrorists and capturing another 51 in an intelligence-led operation in Moura. In a follow up statement on 5 April it rejected the HRW report, saying, “The bearers of this unfounded information have no other objective than to tarnish the image of the FAMa”.

Borrell said the EU had asked the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali to “go to the places where there have been mass killings” to investigate, without mentioning Moura.

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