On Monday, the United States announced economic sanctions targeting three Malian soldiers, including the current defense minister, for “facilitating the spread and expansion” of the activities of the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group in Mali.
• Also read: Wagner’s soldiers are beginning to pressure us.
These sanctions target three officers in the Malian army: Colonel Sadio Camara, Minister of Defense, as well as Colonel Alo Boy Diarra and Lieutenant Colonel Adama Bagayoko, both of whom are officials in the Air Force.
Washington cited “evidence showing that these financial officials contributed to the Wagner Group’s malign activities in Mali,” in a statement from the US Treasury Department.
“Today’s action exposes key financial officials who helped facilitate the Wagner Group’s entrenchment in Mali over the past two years,” Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in the statement.
“These officials have made their people vulnerable to the Wagner Group’s destabilizing activities and human rights abuses while paving the way for the exploitation of their country’s sovereign resources for the benefit of the Wagner Group’s operations in Ukraine,” he added.
The assets of these three officials have been frozen in the US, and they are prohibited from conducting transactions with US persons or companies.
According to Washington, since the arrival of the Wagner Group in Mali in December 2021, the number of civilian casualties in this country has increased by 278%, mainly due to operations carried out by the Malian armed forces alongside members of the Wagner Group.
The United States imposed economic sanctions on this group in June 2017, and then repeated this past January.
The future of Wagner, who has fought in Ukraine and confirmed his presence in several African countries, but also in Syria, has been called into question after the 24-hour insurrection led by his boss, Yevgeny Prigogine, in June in Russia.
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