Mali’s military rulers claim they did not force France to remove its soldiers from their country. France withdrew their troops last year after a nine-year military operation in the country to fight armed groups. After the French forces left the country, Mali’s rulers brought in Russia’s Wagner group to support government soldiers.
Last month, the European Union imposed sanctions on the head of Wagner’s forces in Mali, saying the group was responsible for multiple human rights abuses and other violence. Mali’s Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga discussed the relations of France, Russia and the African Union with Mali along with ongoing fights with rebel groups in an interview with Al Jazeera.