Several hundred “experienced” Wagner forces have arrived in the Central African Republic, Russian private security company said on Sunday.
Officer's Union for International Security – one of Wagner group’s front companies – stated on Telegram that Russian instructors will continue to assist Central African Armed Forces (FACA) military personnel and law enforcement officers of the CAR in ensuring security ahead of the constitutional referendum scheduled for July 30.
Wagner instructors have been training the national army, police and gendarmerie of the CAR for more than five years. “Thanks to the training that they received from specialists… The CAR has managed to achieve a widespread increase in the level of security, which has become a solid foundation for the development of the Republic.”
Prior to the short-lived mutiny by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner had been expanding its presence in Africa, including the Central African Republic (CAR). The CAR has witnessed an increased involvement of Wagner Group personnel, who are deployed to support the government in its fight against rebel factions and to protect key infrastructure. Wagner Group's activities in the CAR have raised concerns due to reports of human rights abuses and violations, including the indiscriminate targeting of civilians. Additionally, there are suspicions that the group's interests in the CAR extend beyond military support, encompassing control over natural resources such as diamonds and gold. The presence of the Wagner Group in Africa, particularly in the CAR, highlights the complex dynamics of foreign military involvement and its potential implications for regional stability and security.
The fate of the Wagner group remains up in the air, as Russian President Vladimir Putin offered those who participated in the mutiny an option between joining the army or going back home to their families or going to Belarus following their exiled chief.
Furthermore, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said countries in Africa which dealt with Wagner were not panicked after the insurrection as the mutiny would not alter Russia’s relationship with countries in Africa.
As for African countries that hired Wagner, Lavrov said those countries also had direct security cooperation with Moscow. Lavrov said that Wagner group members will continue operations in Mali and Central African Republic (CAR). He pointed out that several hundred Russian servicemen who are members of Wagner were working in CAR as instructors and said: “This work will, of course, continue.”