The posts saying that members of the Wagner Group paramilitary organisation were deployed from Syria to Mali in August this year have emerged on the Arabic Twitter.
Screenshots from globe.adsbexchange.com, the public source of flight data that tracks flights around the world, are published as evidence.
Numerous articles about the Wagner Group’s arrival in Mali have been recently published by world media. Back in June this year, Le Figaro newspaper reported that the Wagner Group mercenaries were operating in surveillance and intelligence services in Mali. Several African newspapers published news about the arrival of a large Russian military force in the country in early September and Reuters estimated the number of fighters at 1,000 at the very least.
These events are happening amid the rapidly diminishing French influence in the region. In June, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the end of Operation Barkhane, which had targeted the militants rampaging in Mali. In practice, the French army made little progress over the years but fell under reasonable suspicion of involvement in drug trafficking, collusion with terrorists, and plundering of the country's natural resources. The Malian government has fully lost control of some areas.
The French Foreign Ministry announced that the work of the Wagner Group organisation in Mali was incompatible with the operations of the French forces. However, the incumbent Prime Minister of Mali Choguel Kokalla Maïga has recently said that no one can take away Mali's right to choose its allies.