Mali Prime Minister Chogoel Maiga: France has a “plan” to overthrow the junta government

In an exclusive interview with France 24 and its sister radio station Radio France Internationale (RFI), Mali’s Prime Minister, Chogoel Maiga, said that since 2012, the French authorities have tried to divide his country by fueling demands for autonomy in the north. Maiga said it is clear that Paris has never considered the junta government legitimate, and claims that it is “preparing a plan” to overthrow it.

In the interview, Maiga insisted that Bamako “never asked” France to withdraw Barkhane’s anti-jihadist operations from Mali, but that this was a decision France had taken on its own. “On the basis that Mali is preparing for discussion with terrorists,” he said, referring to a statement issued on June 3, 2021 in which France announced the suspension of its joint military operations with Malian forces.

At the time, France said it was waiting for guarantees that the transitional government would hand power to civilian rule in the February 2022 elections. But the military council has since postponed the elections.

Since France began withdrawing its forces, Maiga said the Malian army had “reorganized itself” and that French soldiers had now replaced them with local forces.

In response to a question about whether Mali received support from the Russian Wagner mercenaries, Maiga said that his country was working “with Russian collaborators” under a contract signed with Moscow. “Wagner’s word, the French are the ones saying that. We don’t know any Wagner,” he said.

Maiga also said that his country has scored many victories against the jihadists: “We have targeted the heart of terrorism to destroy their bases, and we are making gains.”

RFI

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