ISIS Hits Wagner Base in Ménaka, Mali

This morning, an ISIS cell launched approximately three 122m Grad rockets with words of support for Gaza and Palestine at a military base utilised by Malian Armed Forces and the notorious Russian mercenary group, Wagner. 

It is unclear if the rocket fire was accurate nor is it currently known if there were fatalities. 

Wagner Group first entered Mali in December of 2021, with CSIS analysts claiming the group was tasked with “[shoring] up Mali’s domestic political position rather than to meaningfully address insecurity in the country. While Wagner will ostensibly train local forces and provide security services to senior Malian officials, it will also take advantage of the situation to spread Russian influence on the continent and secure financial gains.” 

With the French-led Operation Barkane in the country coming to a close in November 2022, Wagner was brought in to essentially ‘coup-proof’ Colonel Assimi Goïta’s regime. Goïta came to power through a coup of his own in May 2021 and has since fostered a strong relationship with the Russian state, which utilises Wagner Group to gain access to mineral resources to circumvent international sanctions. 

Furthermore, ISIS activity in the nation has skyrocketed, with the UN claiming the terror group has doubled the amount of territory under its control in less than a year. The group is particularly active in eastern Ménaka as well as northern Gao.