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African Countries Face Terror of Wagner Group

The power struggle between President Vladimir Putin and the Wagner Group and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin will likely have huge implications for Africa. Wagner mercenaries are active in several African countries, including Central African Republic and Mali.

In the Central African Republic, for example, 1,890 so-called “Russian instructors” are supporting government troops in the ongoing civil war, according to the Russian ambassador. The latest report from The Sentry reveals that “systematic efforts by Russia to undercut democracy in Africa have inhibited democratic development in two dozen African countries.”

Voice of America reports that the United States has accused companies in the United Arab Emirates, the Central African Republic and Russia of engaging in illicit gold deals to help fund the Wagner Group. The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement it has sanctioned four companies linked to Wagner and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, that it alleged were used to help pay the paramilitary’s forces fighting in Ukraine and undertaking operations to support Russian interests in Africa.

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John F. Clark writes for The Conversation that it is easy to understand what African rulers see in the mercenary group. The group’s mercenaries can be deployed quickly, and the group brings sophisticated arms with it and can apply force and ruthlessly.

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Wagner has been accused of atrocities, including mass murder and rape, across Africa and alongside Russian forces in Ukraine.

In Libya, up to 1,200 Wagner mercenaries are believed to be fighting on the side of rebel leader Khalifa Hifter. In Mali, the pro-Russian, anti-Western military junta has also brought hundreds of Wagner fighters into the country. There, they have been accused of committing serious human rights violations.

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