Wagner revolt mars Africa operations prospects.

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Mali and CAR, whose Wagner militia forces have become increasingly important in long-running domestic conflicts, face a diplomatic dilemma if the militia revolts in Russia.

After taking a southern city overnight, Wagner fighters headed toward Moscow. Mali and CAR spokespeople declined to comment on how the chaos would effect their security policies against extremist groups.

Both countries have sought deeper ties with Russia and military backing to fight the extremists.

“(Wagner’s) presence in Mali is sponsored by the Kremlin and if Wagner is at odds with the Kremlin… naturally Mali will suffer the consequences on the security front,” said Malian political analyst Bassirou Doumbia.

Mali has been fighting an Islamist insurgency since 2020 and 2021 military coups. Russian servicemen there are trainers helping local troops with Russian equipment, not Wagner mercenaries.

However, the partnership has strained relations with the UN and Western governments, who accuse Wagner soldiers of war crimes alongside Mali forces.

Russia and Mali deny the claims. Wagner’s presence in Mali during Russia’s rebellion might strain Bamako’s relations with Moscow, which last year promised $100 million in gasoline, fertilizer, and food.

“(The) exact consequences for Mali really depend on factors largely unknown such as the organisational autonomy of Wagner and their chain of command, and, of course, whether things escalate or not between (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and Wagner,” said Brussels School of International Studies senior lecturer Yvan Guichaoua.

As of Saturday morning, Mali had no unexpected army moves.

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