The Wagner Group is working to create a “confederation” of countries hostile to the West in Africa. This was revealed by Pentagon leaks reported by The Washington Post, according to which the group is fomenting instability in Africa using its paramilitary forces and focusing on disinformation to strengthen Moscow’s allies. In one of the underground newspapers, the strategies that the United States and its allies could use to strike at the Wagner Group were laid out. Among them is providing targeted intelligence to Ukrainian forces to help them kill the group’s leaders.
what is going on
The rapid expansion of Russian influence in Africa has been a growing concern for US military and intelligence officials, prompting last year to find ways to target Wagner’s network of bases and commercial centers with attacks, sanctions and cyber operations, according to Pentagon documents. .
While Wagner’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is preoccupied with infighting among the Kremlin over the paramilitary group’s growing involvement in the war in Ukraine, U.S. officials are painting Wagner’s global expansion as a potential danger. The Pentagon document refers to the files containing information about the aims of Ukrainian forces to kill Wagner leaders: they indicated the willingness of other allies to take similarly lethal measures against Wagner traffickers in Africa.
However, there is little in the file to suggest that the CIA, the Pentagon, or other agencies actually bothered Wagner over the six years during which the mercenary group, controlled by Putin’s ally Prigozhin, “invaded” at least strategic points. eight African countries – Among the 13 countries in which Prigozhin was “planted”, – according to the documents. The most significant US strike against Wagner occurred near Deir Ezzor, Syria, in February 2018, when US airstrikes killed several hundred Wagner fighters who were attacking a few dozen Delta Force, Ranger, and Kurdish forces near a gas plant.
Overall, the dossier portrays Wagner as a relatively free power in Africa, one that is expanding its presence and ambitions there even as the war in Ukraine has become a stressful, if not all-encompassing problem for the Kremlin. As a result, “Prigozhin is likely to strengthen his network across multiple countries,” concludes one intelligence document, “undermining each nation’s ability to sever ties with its own services and expose neighboring countries to their destabilizing activities.”
He said that the rise of Wagner heralds a new wave of competition among the great powers in Africa, and with it the return of authoritarianism. Anas QomatiDirector of the Sadiq Institute in Tripoli. He said the Wagners “are a solution to the kind of problems that African dictators find themselves in”.
Mining controls in Sudan
Wagner for a time controlled some of the gold mining sites, especially in Darfur in Sudan, through a series of direct subsidiaries through which they would resell the precious metal abroad, mostly to Russia. The security of these sites has so far been ensured by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo himself, who we know amassed an enormous fortune, and became one of the richest men in the country.
The first time Wagner officially set foot in Sudan was in 2017. BashirThe former president of Sudan goes to Russia in search of political, economic and military support. In exchange for requests, he promises to provide important economic opportunities for the Kremlin. In Sochi in 2017, Al-Bashir and Putin signed an iron pact.
A few months after that trip, Meroe Gold, a newly founded mining company owned by the Russian company M Invest, entered the country, which we remember Third largest producer of gold in Africa. And it does so in the usual way, by sending an increasing number of experts.
In 2020, the US publicly accused M Invest of being a front company for Wagner PMC, which it would specifically use to mine gold in Darfur. The United States issued sanctions against Meroe Gold, its subsidiary M Invest, and against its two co-chairs, Andrei Mandel and Mikhaul Potekpin. According to the US Treasury Department, the companies helped Prigozhin make higher dollar transactions to 7.5 million.
According to some analysts, there was a moment when Wagner would have made a leap in quality, positioning himself from an actor defending his business interests to a protagonist along with strength, and this would have happened during the popular uprisings of 2019 against Al-Bashir alongside the latter to suppress the protests. ongoing across the country. Samuel Ramani, author of Russia in Africa: The Return of the Great Power or the Aggressive Demonstrator? Immediately after the fall of al-Bashir, Wagner’s chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, allegedly tried to gain accreditation with the new sovereign council, saying he was ready to support the new Sudan he had elevated to his leadership. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.
But in 2019, the national security services are bloody suppressing popular protests, imprisoning various members of the local resistance committees and the Forces for Freedom and Change. The Sovereignty Council wants us to step back and return to the stage of peaceful transition. Thus, Wagner reverts to being merely the guarantor of its business interests and the custodian of the mining sites it operates.
Is this the moment when rapprochement with the Rapid Support Forces (Emergency Forces, ed.) takes place? According to Samuel Ramani, it is the moment of change. Rapid Support Forces Safety of mining sites And he will be entrusted with the gold trade routes which will make them fly from Sudan to Dubai and from there to Russia, in a kind of triangulation. From these operations for years, and even today, a huge amount of money was obtained that would have helped consolidate and finance Wagner, in all its activities.
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