Malian Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maïga has denounced US sanctions on the defence minister, air force chief of staff and his deputy as a “distraction” and pledged his “total support” to the junta officials.
“The sanctions against our valiant officers, Defence Minister Col Sadio Camara, Gen Alou Boi Diarra, Col Adama Bagayoko, have no objectives other than to distract the Malian people. Nothing will distract us from the work of rebuilding Mali,” Mr Maïga has tweeted.
The US Treasury imposed sanction on the three for “facilitating” the expansion of Russia’s Wagner Group in Mali.
Wagner troops have been accused of committing atrocities alongside the Malian army in their fight against jihadists, with the US saying civilian casualties had more than tripled since they deployment in late 2021.
The prime minister of is the only senior official in the military government to have commented on the sanctions.
The measured Malian response so far contrasts with the rhetoric and accusations of plots to destabilise the ruling junta delivered by government spokesman Col Abdoulaye Maïga in previous diplomatic rows, notably with France and the UN.