Since the failed insurrection that occupied Russia for hours last month, the future Russian military paramilitary group Wagner Suspended, but it seems unlikely that it will completely disappear.
Can Wagner survive in Africa without its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, after the recent rebellion?
A month after his men’s brief march toward Moscow and then its leader’s declared exile to Belarus, the economic and geopolitical weight of the continent’s most famous private military company appears to be protecting it from being wiped off the map.
Last week, in a video posted by Telegram accounts claiming to be close to Wagner but whose authenticity could not be verified by AFP, Prigozhin asked his men to prepare for a “new trip to Africa” ahead of the Russia-Africa summit.
Full services.. Below is a glimpse of its role in the continent:
The Wagner Group offers a range of services for systems in difficulty.
In Mali and the Central African Republic, it protects the established power and offers military training or even legal advice to rewrite the constitution.
In return, the group gets its wages from local resources, especially gold mines and other minerals.
In Sudan, Wagner has been active in the illegal gold trade and is still close to the Rapid Support Forces of Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
As for Libya, there are hundreds of elements today to ensure the security of military bases and oil-related infrastructure in the eastern regions of the country, says Pauline Bax, assistant director of the Africa Program in International Crisis Groups, to “Agence France Presse”.
There and elsewhere, the group faces accusations of influencing public opinion, undermining the reputation of the West, and influencing electoral processes.
Its method on the military level is brutal and pays little attention to human rights and the distinction between civilians and the military, as the West says.
The United States imposed sanctions on Prigozhin, and designated his group in January as a transnational criminal organization.
An independent expert for the United Nations also accused the Central African Republic’s army and its Russian allies of committing atrocities.
Moscow: The survival of Wagner personnel in Africa depends on the decision of the submissive countries
In turn, the European Union announced new sanctions against a number of Wagner officials in the country.
Last Thursday, Britain imposed sanctions on 13 individuals and companies accused of being involved in Wagner’s atrocities, including executions and acts of torture in Mali and the Central African Republic, as well as threats to peace and security in Sudan.
How did it appear?
The Wagner Group was established in the early 2010s outside any legal framework.
The group then became the semi-official armed arm of Russian ambitions in Africa, while allowing Moscow to deny any responsibility for its operations.
Map of Wagner’s influence in Africa
Maxime Audinet, a researcher at the Research Institute at the Military Institute in Paris, told AFP that Wagner is neither a branch of the army nor a private entity in itself. Rather, it serves Moscow’s official interests but also responds to Prigozhin’s personal ambitions.
He added that never before had an unofficial party assumed such importance in Russia’s international work.
After the Wagner Group rebelled, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asserted that its future in Africa would depend only on “the countries concerned”.
Despite this, he made it clear that the ties between the Kremlin and Wagner must be rethought, as wherever it goes, this group receives men and equipment from the Russian army.
Pauline Bax said that the Wagner model is self-financing, at least to pay the personnel fees, but it must obtain support and logistical equipment from the Ministry of Defense.
Will the group be led by a figure more loyal to Moscow? Does it change its name or go to another military company?
Aditya Parikh, an expert at the British private intelligence firm Jane’s, says it is unlikely that Wagner will remain fully subordinate to Russia.
She added that the two parties could sometimes enter into competition in countries where Moscow did not yet have a strong presence, or even forge “temporary alliances”, explaining that in any case, its principles are expected to flourish.
Pauline Bax said that Wagner presented a model that appears to be working in at least two countries (Mali and the Central African Republic), stressing that even if Wagner no longer exists, other companies will seek to exploit this void.
Threatening and disturbing
It is noteworthy that decades ago, African regimes resorted to mercenaries, especially to compensate for the weakness in their armed forces.
And that Russian military group deploys thousands of troops in Africa and the Middle East. 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 United States had condemned the group’s actions in Africa and elsewhere, stressing that the group had a destabilizing influence in that region, considering that they certainly constituted a threat.
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