Mercenaries from Russian Wagner Private Military Company appear in Central African Republic
This year Russia sent to the Central African Republic (CAR) the detachment of the mercenaries from Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) reported.
On March 22, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that in late January and early February, a small batch of arms and ammunition was delivered to the CAR, and that five military units and 170 Russian civilian instructors were sent to train servicemen of the Republic. The CIS stated however that those personnel are most likely the Wagner PMC.
Earlier, Western media reported the deployment of Wagner PMC to Sudan and the CAR, CIT writes. CIT quoted a report by Agence France-Presse, which claims that there are rows of tents and multiple Russians in uniform on the territory of the Berengo Palace, who trained soldiers of the CAR. Satellite images showed that the camp of Russians appeared on January 21 to 22.
Later, the President of CAR published photos of the graduating ceremony of 200 soldiers of the infantry battalion of the armed forces of the CAR. Several the photographs show men of European appearance in military clothing. The CIS concluded that these “Russian servicemen” were in fact members of Wagner but the CIT analysts said that they could not be completely sure.
The portal also points out that a Turkish ship was once detained in Tunisia, which was carrying Russian armored vehicles, ammunition, military uniforms, generators, medical equipment and cargoes needed to build a military camp in the CAR.
All of the evidence indicates that Russia may simply be providing assistance to the Central African Republic as their Foreign Ministry has openly claimed. However, the CIS believes that "Russian aid is hardly entirely free," pointing out the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about "the opportunities for mutually beneficial development of the reserves of the CAR’s natural resources," particularly "the organization of prospecting mining concessions."
The media suggests that Russian "instructors" are located near mineral deposits, including gold, diamonds and uranium, which may be of interest to Putin’s friend and alleged troll factory owner Iosif Prigozhin.
Possible confirmation of the presence of Wagner fighters also comes in the form of a RIA FAN article from April 10 entitled “Russia will help restore peace and tranquility in the CAR.” CIT writes that FAN is "affiliated with" Prigozhin’s troll factory, which is also "considered to be the creator of the Wagner PMC.”
There have been previous reports about the activities of Wagner PMC in Syria and Sudan.