The French military has claimed that Russian mercenaries have buried scores of bodies near a military base in Mali. The mercenaries have thus falsely accused France of leaving behind mass graves in the African country by its departing forces. The army has claimed of filming the whole act through a drone. The film shows ‘white soldiers’ covering bodies in sand near the northern Mali’s Gossi base.
The video surfaced on Thursday after being shown to AFP’s reporters as a defence after a Twitter account, with name Dia Diarra, posted pixelated pics of corpses accusing France of the atrocities. The account holder describes himself as “former soldier” and “Malian patriot”. The account tweeted, “This is what the French left behind them when they left the base in Gossi … We cannot keep silent!”
Misinformation spread by fake Twitter account
France’s general staff has said the Twitter account was “very probably a fake account created by Wagner”. Wagner is a private Russian mercenary group that arrived last year in Mali in order to bolster the efforts by local troops to curb the Islamist extremists in the country.
“This manoeuvre [is] to discredit the [Operation] Barkhane force. It seems coordinated. It is representative of multiple information attacks French soldiers have faced for several months,” the French army said.
Human rights abuses by Wagner mercenaries in Mali
The Wagner mercenaries have been accused of widespread human rights abuses in Mali by France, United States, and other countries. More than 500 Russian mercenaries are believed to be present in Mali at present, carrying out military operations against Islamist extremists in the country.
The misinformation comes at a time when France is winding up its about decade long military operation in Mali, the west African country.