Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has resumed activity in Africa – reports

Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has resumed activity in Africa – reports
/ bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews April 5, 2024

Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has reportedly resumed its activities in Africa, almost a year following the demise of its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin. 

Investigations by Russian outlet Vyorstka and the research group Nordsint have highlighted a resurgence in recruitment efforts, signalling a renewed focus on the continent, The Moscow Times reported in a summary of their findings.

Wagner has posted at least 18 recruitment ads on its Telegram channel over the past month, with a message that reads “Wagner has a lot of work to do in Africa!”

Wagner was officially disbanded in 2023 following Prigozhin's failed mutiny, with the remaining fighters transferred to units in the Russian Army. Now, it appears to have resurfaced with “several thousand” soldiers allegedly transferred from Ukraine to Africa since mid-February.

These troops, including both mercenaries and regular soldiers, are reportedly engaged in training local military forces, indicating Russia's intent to bolster its influence in the region. Mali has been named as the main destination for Wagner's new recruits, The Moscow Times notes.

The resurgence of Wagner coincides with Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent discussions with Mali's junta leader, Colonel Assimi Goita. Their discussions have not only touched on the military, but also Moscow’s broader strategic interests in Africa, such as energy, agriculture, mining projects, and counterterrorism.

That announcement followed the attack at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall that claimed the lives of at least 137 individuals. Both parties agreed on the urgent necessity of collaborating to combat the rising threat from extremist groups. The Kremlin expressed its dedication to enhancing anti-terrorist cooperation in response.

Satellite imagery from Maxar dated February 26 reveals ongoing construction work at a former Wagner site, indicating Russia's expansion of its military base in Mali. The site, located at Modibo Keita International Airport near Bamako, displays new buildings, roads, and excavations, suggesting increased activity since July, according to Military Africa

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