The main Air France pilot union calls on its members to “exercise their right of withdrawal” so as not to fly to Bamako.
The Air France pilots. Thursday, March 16, the main union of pilots of the French airline, which rotates a day between Paris and the Malian capital, told Agency France-Presse (AFP) that it has called its members to “exercise their right to withdrawal “to no longer fly to Bamako. The concern about the impact that could have the existence of a new Russian soil-to-air missile system in Mali, formulated by the American Civil Aviation Agency (FAA) on its website at the end of February, seems to have motivated this unique union call to say the least.
In these two press releases released on February 23, the government agency responsible for regulating US civil aviation had indeed warned the airlines recorded in the United States against the “potential risk” that the space now represented Malian air, including “the introduction of an advanced air defense system” in Mali by Mali by Wagner mercenaries, a Russian private security group that began to deploy in the country at the end of December 2021.
In the process, the two notes were commented on social networks by accounts of Internet users accustomed to singing the praises of the junta and Russian-Malian military cooperation, in full expansion since the installation in power of the power of the power of the power of the power of Colonels following two coups in August 2020 and May 2021.
a “system of soil-to-air missiles guided by radar”
“The United States confirms the overarmement of Mali,” thought to know one of them on Tiktok on March 6, while another was scrolling on the Chinese video application photos of missiles assorted Subtitles presenting Mali as a country “now unassailable by surprise or by foray”, thanks to this “anti-missile battery remote controlled by radar guidance capable of intercepting planes that will cross Malian airspace”.
Far from these rantings, the FAA specified in its press releases that Wagner had deployed in Mali, in the spring of 2022, “more than 1,000 private soldiers as well as various armaments capacities, such as aircraft systems without pilot (UAS) [acronym used to designate drones] and more sophisticated air defense systems “.
The American regulatory body notably mentioned the presence in Bamako of a “system of soil-to-air missiles guided by radar, capable of attacking targets up to 15,000 meters with a range of 36 kilometers” and thus Invited American companies to “show prudence” “to all altitudes including over the overflight of the airspace, landing and take -off phases and at the airport, on the ground”.
Car Wagner, recalls the regulatory body, “has questionable history of air defense fire”, in particular in Libya, where this anti -aircraft device named Pantsir would have led Russian mercenaries to “fratricidal incidents” during shooting poorly oriented.