Mali has marked its 61st anniversary of the country’s independence from France. On Wednesday in Kati, near Bamako, a military parade was held with the president of the transition Colonel Assimi Goïta in attendance.
The celebration however comes at a time of political uncertainty for the sahelian nation.
"Today, Mali is going through difficult times, but we must not despair of our nation, of our State. It is during difficult times that we know the true citizens and it is during difficult times that we recognise the true patriots." President of the transition Colonel Assimi Goïta said.
Goïta assured that Mali will "honour all its international commitments", amid the controversy over the Malian military's alleged intention to hire paramilitaries from Russian private-security firm Wagner.
The Russian company is considered close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has been accused of committing abuses.
France's defence minister during a visit to the Sahel state warned that hiring paramilitaries from the Russian private-security firm would isolate the country internationally.
Florence Parly told reporters on Monday that if Mali hired the firm, at a time when international partners fighting jihadism in the Sahel "had never been so numerous, such a choice would be that of isolation".
Parly's meeting with her Malian counterpart Colonel Sadio Camara follows a previous warning to Bamako from its former colonial power last week, after reports that Mali's army-dominated government was close to hiring 1,000 Wagner paramilitaries.
A Malian defence ministry official, who requested anonymity, told AFP that Camara had assured Parly that no decision had been made.
The minister explained that France's "abandonment" of Mali meant "everything had to be considered to secure the country," the official said.
France, which has thousands of troops stationed in the war-torn country, has pledged a major troop drawdown across the Sahel.
Since 2020, Mali has been undergoing a political transition after yet another military coup. It is also occupied by foreign military forces as part of the fight against terrorism, which has been raging for several years.
According to the UN, insecurity is having a devastating impact on people's daily lives and continues to take its toll.
The Russian company is considered close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has been accused of committing abuses