Russian mercenary group, Wagner has reportedly arrived in Mali intending to support the military coup leaders in the country.
The Wagner group leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, according to a report by Al-Jazeera, claimed that the arrival of its team in Mali was to assist the Mali military government in dislodging terrorists and “any other interest.”
The report of Wagner’s arrival is coming amidst a move by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to invade Niger if the coup leaders fail to hand over power to the democratically elected President, Mohamed Bazoum.
Recall that ECOWAS a few days ago rejected the three-year transition plan hinted at by Niger coup leader, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, reaffirming the possibility of the use of force should dialogue fail.
However, there are reports that the Russian mercenary group, Wagner which is currently in Mali with soldiers, arms and ammunition have the intention to support Niger coup leaders.
Mali and Burkina Faso, also ruled by military junta, have both declared their backing for the Niger coupists.
They have faulted the sanctions slammed on Niger by ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) following the military take-over.
They pledged to join Niger in resisting any form of force that might be used against the Niger junta.
In the move to show their solidarity, they have reportedly moved troops to Niamey as a backup to the Niger military.
The junta has also insisted that it would not respect ECOWAS’ position.
A former Russian official claimed Wagner and the Russian state conspired to facilitate the military coup in Niger.
“The recent coup in Niger was carried out in close cooperation with Russian special services and Private Military Company (PMC) consultants,”claimed Russian military blogger Mikhail Zvinchuk, a former press officer for Russia’s defence ministry, who uses the alias “Rybar”