Mali: Thousands denounce France at pro-army rally,

Thousands of people demonstrated in Mali’s capital on Wednesday, according to AFP journalists, backing the nation’s military rulers and protesting perceived foreign meddling in the Sahel state.

The protest comes as military strongman Colonel Assimi Goita faces growing pressure from European powers to renounce a possible deal with Russian private-security firm Wagner.

Former colonial power France — which has thousands of troops in Mali — warned against the deal after reports Mali was close to hiring 1,000 Wagner paramilitaries surfaced this month.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly said this week that her government ”will not be able to cohabit with mercenaries”.

Germany, which also has troops in the war-torn nation of 19 million, said it would reconsider its deployment should Mali strike a deal with Wagner.

And on Wednesday, Estonia’s Defence Minister Kalle Laanet told Vikerraadio, a state radio station there, that if Mali reached a deal with Wagner, the Estonian contingent would leave. They have about 100 soldiers there. Läs artikel