The tragic crash of an IL-76 quad-jet engine, which occurred during an attempted landing in Gao, northern Mali, continues to raise many questions.
An equivocal registration: the belonging of the aircraft called into question
Although it can now be confirmed that the accident aircraft was a Ilyushin II-76 of Russian design, new elements call into question its ownership. According to AFP, the plane was under the control of the Malian army. However, uncertainties remain regarding its registration. Some sources mention the registration TZ98, although this does not correspond to any listed IL-76. Other sources suggest the registration EW-412TH, of Belarusian origin, but this plane would have been registered in Istanbul later, thus giving rise to disturbing inconsistencies.
A tragic toll: human and material losses are increasing
Although the authorities have not yet released an official toll, it is increasingly clear that the human and material losses are significant. Estimates indicate around 140 deaths. Airport and diplomatic sources have cited these figures, but no precise details on the exact number of victims have yet been revealed. This tragedy leaves an indelible mark on the Gao region and raises international concerns.
Wagner’s shadow looms: A possible presence of the Russian paramilitary group
An element that is more intriguing is the possible presence on board of soldiers from the Russian paramilitary group Wagner. According to a Malian military official, the IL-76 was on a mission to Gao with partners. Witnesses also mentioned that when the survivors arrived in Gao, the majority of them were Wagner’s Russian soldiers. This revelation raises many questions about the nature of their mission and their involvement in the accident.