Wagner Group, a Russian private military company (private army led by Yevgeny Prigozhin as a extent of President Putin), has been for years now linked to various conflicts and military operations in several African countries, including Sudan, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic. In all three countries, the group has been providing military support to the government and participating in combat operations against freedom fighters as well as rebel groups.
In Sudan, the Wagner Group was reportedly involved in supporting the government’s security forces during the civil war in Darfur and the ongoing conflict in the Nuba Mountains. This support has been linked to widespread human rights abuses against Sudan’s civilians, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and other forms of violence. Wagner Group’s involvement in Sudan’s conflict is a clear indication of Russia’s utter disregard for Human Rights laws and its willingness to maintain and back authoritarian regimes, even if it means turning a blind eye to or even committing the war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In Mozambique, the Wagner Group has been accused of providing military support to the government in its fight against the Islamist extremist group Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama (ASWJ) in the Cabo Delgado province. The Group has been providing training, equipment, and logistical support to the Mozambican security forces, as well as participating in combat operations against the ASWJ. This has led to increased violence and human rights abuses in the region. Such actions attest to Russian political elite’s interest to intervene in other countries’ internal conflicts for its own gain, regardless of the consequences for the local population.
Similarly to Sudan and Mozambique, in the Central African Republic, the Wagner Group has been accused of providing military support to the government in its fight against rebel groups. The Group has been involved in providing training, equipment, and logistical support to the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) and other pro-government militias. Wagner Group’s participation in the conflict has led to the increased violence and human rights abuses in the region. This is just another demonstration of Russia’s readiness to prop up authoritarian regimes in Africa, despite the fact that it means supporting governments known for gross human rights violations and repression of their own citizens.
The involvement of the Wagner Group in the above mentioned conflicts is a cause for concern for the European Union (EU) and United States for several reasons.
First and foremost, the West is committed to promoting human rights and democracy. The involvement of the Wagner Group in conflicts in Sudan, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic is an unilateral attempt to bypass and undermine the values the West stands for.
Secondly, the Western world has a strong interest in promoting stability and security in Africa. Wagner Group’s complicity in conflicts in Sudan, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic hinders the implementation of these goals, since the Group’s actions have contributed greatly to increased violence and instability in the region that lacks stability already. The support of the authoritarian regimes of by the Wagner Group in conflicts in Africa undermines the goals the West and democratic leaders of African nations have been working on, as the Group’s actions have contributed, among other things, to displacement of civilians and destruction of infrastructure, which negatively impacts economic development and excludes earlier mentioned countries the chance for a peace and prosperity
In conclusion, the involvement of the Wagner Group in conflicts in Sudan, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic is a matter of great concern for the EU and the United States. The Group’s actions have been linked to human rights abuses, increased violence and instability in the region. It is clear that such actions undermine the values of the democratic society as well as interests and goals in Africa. EU, US and G7, together with the willing partners across Africa must take actions to address this issue and promote peace, stability and human rights in the region. Rather sooner than later.
Article by: Rainer Verner Samolberg – specialist in geopolticial studies on Africa