Le Monde: From Sudan to Mali… How does Russia spread its pawns in Africa?

The French newspaper Le Monde said that the Russian private security company Wagner, run by a close associate of President Vladimir Putin, has become Moscow’s main tool of influence on the continent against the backdrop of tensions and competition between Russia and the West.

The newspaper reported – in long investigation Prepared by 6 of its correspondents around the world – that Moscow was able, through the activities of this security group and the signing of defense agreements, to find a foothold in many African countries such as Mali, Libya, Sudan, Central Africa and Mozambique, a progress that continued over 5 years in an irregular, conflicting and deceptive manner. sometimes.

But this inconsistency arising from the “real or assumed” deployment of Wagner mercenaries – according to the newspaper – does not actually anger Moscow, but rather invests it in propaganda to reflect the strength of its influence in Africa, and the propaganda machine controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin – a businessman close to Putin and known to be the founder of Wagner – creating or amplifying rumors about the presence of Russian militias on the continent.

This is well proven by Burkina Faso’s recent coup d’état on January 24, as although the Kremlin’s involvement in what happened has not yet been proven, Prigogine immediately praised the coup, considering that it fell in a “new era of decolonization.” While Alexander Ivanov, one of those close to him, offered what he described as the services of “Russian trainers” for the Burkinabe army that led the coup.

Le Monde stresses that after 30 years of disengagement from Africa following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the “great saga” of Russia’s return to the brown continent from Sudan began in 2017, when dictator Omar al-Bashir – who was targeted with two arrest warrants for crimes against humanity and genocide – decided From the International Criminal Court in 2010, he undisputedly ruled a country on the edge of the abyss shunned by the international community – turning its attention to Moscow.

This cooperation initially assumed a security tint through the delivery of weapons and training of Sudanese forces, but was soon accompanied by gold exploration concessions granted by Khartoum to M Invest, a company linked to Prigozhin, the Wagner mercenary commander, and dependent on a local branch in Sudan is called “Meroe Gold”.

President Omar al-Bashir was also personally employed – according to the newspaper – to serve Moscow’s policy in the Middle East, as the latter – after he condemned the practices of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who survived the disaster thanks to the intervention of the Russian air force in 2015 – became the first Arab leader to visit Official for Damascus in December 2018.

This laying of the foundations of Wagner mercenaries in Sudan facilitated – according to Le Monde – the Russian extension, according to the logic of geographical continuity towards the neighboring Central African Republic and other African countries, as Moscow actually launched its entry to this republic from Khartoum on board a military transport plane “Ilyushin 76” on 26 January 2018.

On board this plane, which landed on the runway of Bangui airport and was received by a limited number of Russian agents, no one cared about them at the time, were light weapons directed at two battalions in the Central African Army, and Russian instructors also landed for training purposes not far from the capital, Bangui, in the Beringo Palace, the deserted palace. The late Central African Emperor Bokassa I.

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