Wagner Group’s campaigns in Africa will only get worse

Wagner Group’s campaigns in Africa will only get worse

Briefly: Rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR) inflicted significant losses on Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group in the ongoing battle for control of mineral-rich regions in the country.

The Wagner Group, the infamous private military company on the frontlines of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has been a fixture in CAR since the government hired them in 2018 to defeat a years-long insurgency. But as one of the world’s poorest countries, CAR has offered to pay mercenaries with captured resources – think gold and diamonds – instead of cash.

Although mercenaries are illegal in Russia, Wagner formally registered as a Russian company last year, and even opened an office in St Petersburg. It has been accused of using increasingly brutal tactics in CAR as its momentum in the country has slowed.

Intrigue’s take: This won’t end well. Expert Colin Clarke sums it up perfectly (if alarmingly): “[T]he Wagner Group has acted in a predatory manner, siphoning resources in exchange for security. Once the resources and minerals are depleted, Russia will withdraw, leaving behind a volatile region that could develop into a safe haven and sanctuary for [militants].”

Also worth noting:

  • Neighbouring Chad and Sudan agreed last month to join Wagner and the CAR to fight rebels near their shared borders.
  • On Tuesday (31 January), UN human rights experts claimed that the Wagner Group has committed war crimes during its ongoing campaign in Mali.

Latest Author Articles
Intrigue’s 2024 Geopolitical Bingo Card

Before we get back into the swing of things next week, allow us to present the Intrigue 2024 Geopolitical Bingo Card. Basically, we’ve put together 24 predictions for the coming year – some serious, others not.

5 January, 2024
Intrigue’s 2023 in Review

1. Superpower relations The curious case of the Chinese spy balloon It’s not like US-China relations were good before Billings, Montana native Chase Doak spotted a 200-foot-tall object drifting in the sky one sunny February morning… but his discovery certainly made them worse. China first denied it was a balloon meant for spying but somewhat undermined those […]

17 December, 2023
A COP dark side?

We’ve worked at plenty of global summits, including in our former lives as diplomats. They’re exhilarating, frustrating, surreal, and essential parts of how our world works. But they have a dark side, too. Trusted friends have passed us some information on one such dark side now playing out in the margins of the COP28 climate talks in Dubai: sex trafficking.

8 December, 2023
The run-up to COP… 31?

As the COP28 climate talks kick off in Dubai later this month, there are two intriguing tussles playing out for the right to run COP31 in 2026.

17 November, 2023