Mali's military government is close to hiring 1,000 mercenaries from the Russian Wagner company. The Wagner Group would be paid about six billion CFA francs ($10.8m) a month for its services
The French see it as a threat to their own influence and power in the Sahel region.
“If the Malian authorities entered into a contract with Wagner, it would be extremely worrying and contradictory, incoherent with everything that we have done for years and we intend to do to support the countries of the Sahel region,” French Defence Minister Florence Parly told a parliamentary commission.
Russian paramilitaries, “security instructors”, companies and advisors have grown increasingly influential in the war-torn Central African Republic (CAR)
Wagner are also reported to be present in various countries elsewhere in Africa, including in Libya in support of renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, in Sudan and in Mozambique.