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Russia’s ‘Africa Corps’ takes over Wagner Group’s lucrative operations on the continent

Moscow has effectively dismantled and largely taken over the Wagner Group and its African operations, once led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, in the year since the mercenaries launched a mutiny against President Vladimir Putin’s government, according to experts.

For years, the Kremlin worked through the paramilitary group to covertly prop up authoritarian leaders, exploit natural resources, and fight extremists in a number of African countries, including Libya, Sudan, Mali, and Burkina Faso. But in the wake of the short-lived mutiny in June 2023, led by the Wagner group, a shadowy web of political advisers, entrepreneurs, and mercenaries, Moscow has largely taken over its African operations.

Since Prigozhin’s demise in a plane crash, Russia has reportedly been carving up Wagner’s assets and redistributing them to branches of the Kremlin. According to interviews with a dozen intelligence officials, diplomats and military from Russia, Ukraine, and Western countries, the Russian Ministry of Defence has taken control of Wagner’s mercenary arm in Africa and placed it under a bigger umbrella group, Africa Corp.

“The Wagner Group was incredibly important geopolitically and economically to Russia, so it was never going to disappear as some people suggested,” says Sorcha MacLeod, a member of the UN’s working group on mercenaries and lecturer at the University of Copenhagen. Experts say Wagner’s operations in Africa have been subsumed by other Russian state and paramilitary units, allegedly with the only exception being the Central African Republic (CAR) where Wagner is still operating in any shadow of its former shape, allegedly controlled by Prigozhin’s son Pavel. Following Prigozhin’s death, a senior Russian defence official reportedly toured African capitals, assuring officials that the services provided by the group would not dissipate.


Source The North Africa Post. The article was prepared for publication by volunteers from the Res Publica - The Center for Civil Resistance.


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