The French military has released drone video evidence of Russian mercenaries burying bodies near the Gossi army base in northern Mali — handed over by the French to the Malian army on 19 April — in an attempt to falsely accuse the departing troops of leaving behind mass graves. Unfortunately for the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group mercenaries, the French had positioned a military drone overlooking the Gossi camp.

The video taken on 21 April show around ten Caucasian soldiers covering approximately a dozen Malian bodies with sand about four kilometres east of the military base. One of the soldiers appears to be filming the scene. A French military officer said that several tweets with pictures of the bodies had been posted on accounts that support Russia or on fake accounts created by Wagner. Their tweets blame the French for the killings and the burials. One from a Wagner created account called Dia Diarra said: ‘This is what the French left behind when they left the base at Gossi. These are excerpts from a video that was taken after they left! We cannot keep silent about this!’

Drone shows Russians mercenaries planting and then filming bodies allegedly left by the French army

The French handed over the Gossi base in a safe, orderly and transparent manner. A confidential report sent by the French military to Associated Press (AP) said on 19 April that, a ‘French sensor observed a dozen Caucasian individuals, most likely belonging to the Wagner Group, and a detachment from the Malian army arrive at the Gossi site and unload equipment.’ 

It claimed that the move to discredit the French in northern Mali is part of a coordinated campaign of multiple information attacks on them that has been going on for months. By comparing the photos published by the Russians on Twitter and those taken by the drone has allowed the French to demonstrate how the Wagner Group constructed this false information. 

Unsurprisingly, Russia has failed to comment on the incident so far. Meanwhile Mali has accused the French army of ‘spying’ and claimed that the French images were false and had been created with the purpose of accusing the Malian army of killing civilians.

This excerpt is taken from Sahara Focus, our monthly intelligence report on the Sahara region. Click here to receive a free sample copy.