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France’s defense minister, Sebastien Lecornu, has denounced the depiction of French soldiers in the Marvel Studios superhero film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” as “false and misleading.”
“I strongly condemn this false and deceptive representation of our armed forces,” Mr. Lecornu wrote on Twitter, more than three months after the film’s theatrical release.
In the second installment of the Marvel franchise, French soldiers appear at the UN in Geneva wearing uniforms similar to those of French troops deployed in Africa’s Sahel region.
After being captured for trying to steal Wakanda’s vibranium, they are ordered to kneel in front of the queen of the nation, Ramonda, who calls out the visibly humiliated French representative in a moving speech.
Minister Lecornu “strongly condemned” the similarity of a fictional group of villainous mercenaries with French armed forces members, in a tweet published Sunday.
The plot of the film involves an African country, Wakanda, faced with culture vultures in the Western nations seeking to control metal resources across the continent, a relatable story to Africans and descendants of Africa alike.
The movie scene in question depicts mercenaries captured by Wakandans after they attacked an outpost in Mali.
“I am thinking of and honoring the 58 French soldiers who died defending Mali, at its request, in the face of Islamist terrorist groups,” Lecornu added.
Tensions have also grown between Mali, its African neighbors and Western nations after Mali’s transitional government allowed Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group to deploy on its territory.
According to MSN, public opinion in the Sahel region towards France’s military presence in African countries and former colonies has soured dramatically in recent years.
Growing conflict with Mali’s ruling military junta, and the country’s decision to bring in Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, led France to announce that they would withdraw troops last February.
Following their exit from Mali, anti-French protests erupted in neighbouring Burkina Faso and the junta demanded that France withdraw troops from their country also by the end of the month.
About 400 special forces have been based in the former French colony.
About 3,000 French soldiers remain deployed in the Sahel region, many of those based in Niger and Chad.
Marvel has not yet responded to the French minister’s remarks.