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On August 22, 2023, Al-Zallaqa, the media arm of Al-Qaeda's affiliate in the African Sahel, Jama'at Nusrat Al-Islam Wal-Muslimeen (the Group for Support of Islam and Muslims – GSIM), released a statement in English and Arabic titled "Do You Fear Them? For Allah Is More Worthy That You Should Fear Him if You Are Believers" (Quran 9:13), which condemns the Russian Wagner Group's attacks on Malian civilians and calls on Muslims to wage jihad against the group and the Malian government.
The statement states that interim Malian President Assimi Goïta and his "Russian mercenary allies," the Wagner Group, "are recording dark pages in the history of the Muslims people in Mali," claiming Wagner operatives "committed a series of crimes against the people of this region [...] it slaughtered and killed men and set their skinny bodies on fire, and disgraced honor, and robbed money, and ruined their markets and trades for people, and committed mass massacres against innocent defenseless people, so they mastered the killing of women and children, and the fetus is not even safe."
The statement accuses the mercenary group of committing several attacks against Muslim locals in which Wagner fighters killed villagers and burned their homes and villages, including an August 10 attack targeting villages near Banamba, Koulikoro province, which allegedly killed 22, including an elderly woman, and left dozens wounded or missing. The statement also accuses the group of killing two civilians and setting fire to homes and shops in the village of Toula, Mopti region, on August 18.
In addition, GSIM accuses the "treason Malian government" of issuing statements about the attacks justifying Wagner's behavior as targeting "terrorists or supporters of terrorist groups," and asks whether the women and children who were killed were also terrorists and if unarmed men may be killed "without trial or proof." GSIM further accuses the Malian government of acting with "criminality and tyranny" by burning villages and looting money and cattle, and of allowing its "dogs of the Russian mercenaries" to rule over "weak and defenseless" civilians.
The statement criticizes Malian forces, supported by the Wagner Group, for attempting "to restore its alleged sovereignty over the Northern reigons, thus paving the way for more massacres and ethnic cleansing," calling this a "preemptive, blatantly aggressive step."
Alleging that Malian forces killed more than 50 "people of different races" and imprisoned civilians in the Timbuktu region, GSIM calls on "every free and honorable person who is zealous for his religion, his honor and his land, to mobilize and wage jihad for the sake of Allah and repel the hostility of these corrupt tyrants." GSIM also calls on Muslims to support it against the "Russian mercenaries and the criminal gang in Bamako," and to help the mujahideen in Mali's Timbuktu, Macina, Aribanda, Kidal, and Gao regions, urging them to ignore recent statements seeking "dialogue and peaceful coexistence with the enemy."
Al-Zallaqa attached two photos documenting burnt and destroyed buildings allegedly damaged in the Wagner attack in Toula village, in Mali's Aribanda region.
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