Questions about the sources of economic power did not stop Russian Wagner Group Which has emerged as a rival force to the Russian army during the past weeks, after threatening to advance to the capital, Moscow, a few days ago.
However, a new report revealed that Africa’s gold and oil are financing the group in billions.
Gold and diamond mines
It has been shown that since its arrival in this troubled country in 2018 to confront the rebels, it has spread in a way that enables it to participate in multiple aspects of the economy and security, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The center explained that a company affiliated with Wagner acquired gold and diamond mines, and in many cases the process was carried out by expelling artisanal miners in Central Africa.
Mining also finances the group’s operations in the country, in addition to obtaining privileges by exempting it from paying taxes on the resources it extracts, as part of a deal between the Central African government and Wagner, as the process takes place by transferring gold and diamonds from Central Africa to other countries before converting them into cash, while it is estimated Potential revenue from the “Nadasima” gold mine in this country is about $2.7 billion.
On the other hand, Wagner operatives have been deployed in Syria since 2015, where they fight alongside the Syrian army and guard the oil fields.
The West African government of Mali is also using the group against extremist groups in oil-rich Libya.
It also fought alongside the army, sending military equipment including fighter jets and armored vehicles so that it could gain a foothold in the country.
It is also active in the wood trade in Cameroon as well, where it earns about one billion dollars.
Experts point out that the group helped Russia circumvent international sanctions imposed after the start of the war in Ukraine by laundering gold and diamonds to finance the Russian war effort.
It is noteworthy that the Russian military group “Wagner” is deployed with forces estimated at thousands in Africa and the Middle East.
WSJ: Putin sent envoys to Syria and Africa to control Wagner
It has also built strong relationships with a number of African governments over the past decade through operations in countries including Mali, Central African Republic and Libya.
It also played a pivotal role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and fought some of the bloodiest battles against Ukrainian forces.
It is noteworthy that the US Department of Defense spokesman, Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, condemned the group’s actions in Africa and elsewhere.
He stressed that “they have a destabilizing effect in that region,” considering that they will certainly pose a threat!
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