Mali gets new batch of drones from Türkiye

Mali gets new batch of drones from Türkiye

Mali gets new batch of drones from Türkiye

Mali took delivery of more aircraft from Russia as well as drones from Türkiye on March 16, according to an AFP correspondent.

Mali’s air force chief, General Alou Boi Diarra, said he had received around 20 aircraft and a dozen drones at a ceremony.

AFP counted five planes and four drones on the tarmac of Bamako airport.

It was the latest in a series of similar Russian deliveries of military equipment, following others in January and in March and August last year.

The latest delivery included more Czech-designed Albatros L-39s jets, like those delivered in January. While initially designed for training purposes, they have also been used as attack aircraft.

The drones were Turkish Bayraktar-TB2s, which are capable of reconnaissance and surveillance missions. Their observations can help make artillery and airstrikes more accurate, said Mali’s defense minister, Colonel Sadio Camara.

The west African country has been fighting a jihadist insurgency since 2012 as well as a political and humanitarian crisis.

After the army leaders took the power in 2020, relations with former colonial power France quickly broke down, and Russia stepped in to fill the void.

Multiple sources say the junta started bringing in paramilitaries from the Russian group Wagner from late 2021, provoking criticism from several countries.

While the regime says it has now begun taking the fight to the jihadists, some experts dispute that claim.