The “mastiffs of war”, according to the famous definition of Frederick Forsyththe mercenaries, are experiencing a renaissance in Africahired to fight in some of the more persistent conflicts – and often ignored – of the continent. Perhaps the most famous and notorious group is wagnera nebulous network that combines military might with commercial and strategic interests, the vanguard of the Russia’s growing ambitions in Africa. Wagner “orchestras” frequently face allegations of torture, killings of civilians, and other ill-treatment.
The Wagner fighters – hand in hand tied up with Kremlin – are active in the wars maliof Central African Republicof Mozambiqueof Libya he was born in Sudan. They team up with local autocrats and militia commanders, who can pay for their services in cash or with mining concessions profitable for valuable minerals such as gold, diamonds and uranium. Gold and diamonds come from the Sudanese mines and those of the Central African Republic currently used for purchase US dollars from China to pay off international debts to save Russia from it Originally and so on in the expensive war in Ukraine. But Wagner is more than just a mercenary/gold dealer. It operates through an extensive network of letterbox companies and is synonymous with a wide range of operations backed by the Kremlin in over a dozen African countries. Wagner interferes in politics, supports autocrats and orchestrates digital propaganda campaigns. Give food to the poor and produce action movie settled in Africa. He even organized one Beauty contest.
The Kremlin denies any connection to Wagner. But it is clear to American and European diplomats, as well as most experts, that Wagner is one unofficial tool of Russian power: a cheap and indisputable way for the president Wladimir Putin to curb western sanctions and expand its influence on a continent where sympathy for Russia is still relatively high. “It’s a power play by Russia,” he clarifies Pauline Bax, Associate Director for Africa at the International Crisis Group. “Through Wagner he wants to see how far he can spread his influence in Africa. I think the results surprised a lot of people.” Wagner emerged during Putin’s first attack on Ukraine in 2014 when his mercenaries fought side by side pro-Russian separatists in the region of Donbass. His commander was Dmitry Utkin, a retired Russian special forces officer who is said to have been fascinated by Nazi history and culture. The group name and Utkin’s military callsign are inspired by the composer Richard Wagnerthe favorite of Hitler. Some of the group’s fighters share this ideology: the ancients Nordic symbols Favorite white extremists were photographed on Wagner equipment in Africa and the Middle East.
Wagner expanded into Syria 2015 with the task of strengthening the President Bashar al AssadTake control of oil and gas fields, save the port Tartus in the Mediterranean where the Russian Navy docks. The group approached Africa in 2017 under the apparent leadership of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian magnate known as “Putin’s cook”. He was indicted by the US in 2018 on suspicion of financing a Russian troll factory accused of meddling Presidential Election 2016. It has been sanctioned in the EU since 2020. In Africa, according to Western officials, experts and investigators, the United NationsWagner has begun advising struggling dictators, running disinformation campaigns on social media and deploying teams of fake election observers. While companies related to Prigozhin manage gold and diamond mines. Wagner has been in the Central African Republic since 2018 to protect the ailing president. Faustin-Archange Touadera. After training local security forces, he helped the military repel a major Islamist offensive in early 2021. “The Presidents” do not perform without his Presidential Guard, they are all white. They are all Wagner’s men.
However, progress on the ground comes at a high cost: UN investigators have found that Wagner’s men did so civilians killed, looted houses and shot believers in a mosque. The operation focused on the regions where Mr. Prigozhin’s companies mined diamonds. in the LibyaWagner fighters withstood a failed assault on the capital, Tripoliin 2019 by Khalifa Haftara former employee of Gaddafi power hungry. Thousands of Wagner fighters remain stationed at four bases across Libya, mostly near the country’s oil fields. in the SudanWagner secured gold mining concessions and tried unsuccessfully to save the country’s autocratic leader and Moscow’s great friend, the President Omar Hassan al-Bashirwho was overthrown in April 2019.
Today, Wagner’s most important Sudanese partner is the regime’s No. 2, the general Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (said Hemmeti), a powerful paramilitary commander who flew to Moscow on the eve of the war in Ukraine to meet with senior Russian officials. He was photographed with the Foreign Minister in Moscow on February 24 (the day Ukraine was invaded). Sergey Lavrov. Really important if Lavrov had time to devote to him “that” day. Wagner in Sudan has concessions for 2 gold mines and one diamond mine. And Moscow is officially building a military naval base on the Red Sea. After Arabic, Russian is of course the most widely spoken language Khartoum. You can hear it everywhere, hotels, restaurants, pool clubs.