French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu expressed dissatisfaction with the way the French military is represented in the latest installment of the Marvel Black Panther franchise. In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which was released in late 2022, the French military was caught stealing resources from a base in Mali belonging to the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda. For Paris, the topic of military presence in the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso and Mali, is sensitive, reminds AFP.
The minister’s reaction came after journalist Jean Beckson posted a fragment of the picture, signing under it: “Evil French mercenaries operating in Mali are dressed as soldiers from Operation Barkhane, a real military mission.”
“I strongly condemn this false and misleading representation of our armed forces,” Mr. Lecornu commented on Twitter on the journalist’s post (quoted by AFP). “I remember and honor the 58 French soldiers who died defending Mali, at her request, in the face of Islamist terrorist groups,” writes Sebastien Lecornu.
The French Defense Ministry told AFP that Paris is not calling for the removal or censorship of the artwork. However, they noted that “no revisionism should be allowed regarding the recent actions of France in Mali: we intervened at the country’s own request to fight armed terrorist groups, which is far from the story told in the film, namely the French army that came to plunder natural resources” .
People close to Mr. Lecorne said his “anger at the film” was due to the fact that it came out against the backdrop of “Russia’s attempts to turn the population of West Africa against France and its military presence.”
After the military juntas in Mali and Burkina Faso demanded the withdrawal of French troops, Mali turned to the Wagner PMC with a request to strengthen its army, AFP reports, noting that the junta denies this. After there were suggestions that the example of Mali could be followed by Burkina Faso.