It has been roughly one year since Wagner operatives first arrived in Mali. During this time, there have been widespread reports of humanitarian abuses and massacres throughout the country. Wagner’s spread throughout the country has been accompanied by a public influence campaign aimed at discrediting France’s influence in Mali, while simultaneously praising Russian and PMC Wagner’s involvement. This influence campaign, coupled with Wagner’s security protocols, limited internet access, and lack of credible media reporting in rural areas of the country make it increasingly difficult to verify claims of abuses and, as a consequence, assess culpability. In this report, All Eyes On Wagner (AEOW) details Wagner’s arrival in Mali, key activities in the country, and collect and research claims of human rights abuses.
This report uses a combination of open-source information, media statements, and humanitarian reports supplemented by local human sources to collect and research claims of human rights abuses. To date, AEOW has identified at least 23 incidents of human rights abuses and killings with a high degree of certainty. This report will highlight some of the most prominent cases verified.
Wagner’s future in Mali is uncertain. Nonetheless, this report makes an important contribution to our understanding of Russia’s recent expansion and influence in foreign countries and the use of Wagner as a vessel for pursuing these interests. It is highly likely that Wagner will remain present in Mali and the Sahel and continue solidifying influence in the region, ensuring access to lucrative natural resource supplies in the Sahel.