By Charles Nwoke, Bamako, Mali
The Prime Minister of Mali, Choguel Kokalla Maiga, during an interview on Monday, reiterated his claim that France was deserting the West Africa country and accused Paris of failing to contain a dreadful Islamist terrorists.
He also confirmed that Mali’s ruling military regime was not likely going to hold presidential and legislative elections as obliged by February 27, 2022, despite series of caution from the international community.
The Malian leader’s allegations of an “abandonment in mid-flight” have provoked President Emmanuel Macron of France, who has announced his readiness to drastically downsize the number of Barkhane military troops stationed in Mali since 2013.
According to Maiga while speaking with French daily Le Monde, said, “Nearly nine years later, what do we see? The terrorism that was limited to Kidal has spread to 80 percent of our territory,” referring to a city in northern Mali.
French forces are now to focus on the eastern part of Mali, a bastion for the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS).
Maiga said, “But the most dangerous group for the Malian State is the GSIM in the north.
“While Al-Qaeda is multiplying its attacks, our main ally, or who we thought was, decides to leave its zone of influence for the three borders region,” near Niger and Burkina Faso, he said. “Is that not an abandonment in mid-flight? We are looking for solutions.”
He dismissed as rumors reports making round that Mali’s government is looking to hire Russian paramilitaries from the Wagner group to come and fight the war.
Maiga said, “A few weeks or months longer of delay is not the end of the world for a country in crisis for the past 10 years.”
Meanwhile, French government has warned that such a move amount to considering a full pullout of her troops from Mali. They also urged Malian government to hold elections according to plan to restore civilian rule after two coups in a very short while.