Russian Il-76 Plane Crashes in Mali, Wagner Mercenaries Among Casualties
Gao, Mali – September 27, 2023 – A video footage has emerged depicting a plane crash in Mali. On September 23, an Il-76 military plane, believed to have carried Wagner mercenaries, skidded off the runway and burst into flames at Gao airport.
2023-09-23: Video footage emerged of the crashed Ilyushin IL-76 (TZ-98T) at Gao Airport, Mali. The aircraft is seen landing on runway 06 at overrunning the end of it at high speed until it broke into parts and caught fire. pic.twitter.com/pDo7lL9IwT— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) September 27, 2023
According to reports, the crash resulted in casualties among both Malian soldiers and individuals associated with the Russian private military company Wagner. The aircraft, registered in Belarus with the tail number EW-412TH, was reportedly overloaded with passengers at the time of the crash.
Deutsche Welle, citing information from the UN mission in Mali, revealed that this Russian-made plane crash occurred during its morning landing.
As of now, the crash has claimed the lives of 140 individuals, including Malian military personnel and Wagner mercenaries. The investigation into the crash is currently underway, with local sources suggesting that a malfunction in the aircraft’s fuel tank may have played a role.
Gao airport is known to be used by Malian soldiers, Wagner PMC mercenaries, and UN stabilization mission military personnel. Mali has been grappling with an insurgency by Islamic extremists since 2012, which initially started in the northern region of the country and subsequently spread to Niger and Burkina Faso.
In recent times, the political landscape in Mali has seen significant changes. The 2021 Malian coup d’état led to the detention of key government figures and called for the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from the country. This new government has fostered cooperation with Russia and the Wagner PMC, while France and Germany have expressed concerns about the Wagner Group’s influence on the UN mission’s activities.