Malian transitional Prime Minister Choguel Maiga is welcomed by ministers and a crowd of supporters upon his return to Mali from New York at the United Nations General Assembly .
In his speech on Saturday, Maiga reproached France for the drawdown of the Barkhane mission, saying that it was an "abandonment" of Mali, a claim France refutes.
According to Habib Sylla, President of the High Council of Malians Living Abroad, the crowd were the there not only to how their support for the speech delivered by the Malian Prime Minister and to reiterate their expectations.
"And we, the Malian people, are behind this transition. We are behind our government because we are the ones who have entrusted the destiny of our country to this crack team, on whom we are counting. And we are ready to be their shield wherever the need arises. It is not them, it is the people."
Mali's army-dominated government in Bamako is reportedly close to hiring 1,000 Wagner paramilitaries from Russia, a move France warned would isolate Mali internationally.