Germany has joined France in expressing concern about a deal reportedly being made between Mali’s military rulers and a Russian security firm called Wagner.
Unnamed sourced have told AFP and Reuters news agencies that the deal would see mercenaries deployed to the west African country, to train the military and protect senior officials.
The mercenary firm has been active in several countries including Ukraine, Syria and the Central African Republic.
Members of the group have been accused of human rights abuses. A recent BBC investigation has also tied it to war crimes in Libya.
Germany’s Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said any agreement with Wagner would go against everything that Germany, France, the EU and the UN had been doing in Mali.
Around 900 German troops are currently stationed there as part of the international coalition fighting Islamist militants in the Sahel region.