The commander of the troop was the Austrian Brigadier Christian Riener, he had only taken over the task as “Mission Force Commander (MFCdr)” at the end of last year. As part of the assistance mission, members of the Malian army have been trained in the fight against militias and terrorist groups for around ten years.
As early as September 2021, there were rumors that the Malian security forces would be trained by the Russian “Wagner troops”, which is why some states questioned their continued participation in the program. Now the consequences have apparently been drawn.
Riener was already the second Austrian commander. When he took office in December, the army contingent in Mali was increased from 26 to 70. A total of almost 1,000 soldiers are stationed in the West African country. The training programs are intended to reduce the long-term terrorist threat from Islamist groups and to reduce trafficking in human beings as well as drug and people smuggling.