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The EU’s New Plan to Counter Russian Mercenaries Is Dead on Arrival
Real Clear Defense
The EU intends to launch three security force assistance missions to Niger, Burkina Faso, and an unspecified nation in the Gulf of Guinea. The proposed EU missions in West Africa and the Sahel are explicitly designed to keep Wagner out of the region. The EU’s report blames the arrival of “Russia-affiliated forces” in Mali for destabilizing the country. Wagner, in Brussels’ opinion, is “gradually more present and influent at the strategic level” in Africa as Wagner’s success has been convincing African leaders that France and the EU are unreliable security partners. However, these missions will not prevent Wagner’s expansion in Africa as the countries chosen are not very susceptible to a Wagner deployment, and deployments to these regions may overstep what was requested of them, leading to degradation of EU relations in these countries without guaranteeing security.
Russia’s Wagner Group in Mali Spurs Refugee Spike in Mauritania
Refugees from northern Mali have flooded into refugee camps in Mauritania following the start of operations by Wagner Group mercenaries in Mali. When asked by Al Jazeera about their reasons for fleeing Mali, some refugees either cited the Russians specifically as a threat or said that the security situation in Mali’s decade-long war has gotten worse since Wagner mercenaries arrived at the beginning of 2022. Ousmane Diallo, a Dakar-based researcher for Amnesty International noted that “the abuses and the violations by the Malian army” have increased in “the scale and brutality” since the arrival of the Wagner Group.
Russian Mercenaries Accused of Deadly Attacks on Mines Sudan-CAR Border
Russian mercenaries have mounted a series of attacks on artisanal mines in the border zones between Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR) in an effort to plunder the region’s valuable gold trade, witnesses and experts have said. Dozens of miners are thought to have died in at least three major attacks this year allegedly involving mercenaries working for the Wagner Group. There are also reports of further attacks on mines in at least six other places across CAR.
China Using Private Military Companies to Expand Its Footprint in Africa
The Economic Times of India
The presence of Chinese private security companies (PSCs) in Africa is expected to increase Beijing’s interference in the country, human rights violations, and illegal activities. China has been using PSCs as a plot to maintain a discreet military presence in Africa and avoid being seen as another colonial power. Despite Chinese claims that PSCs are involved in providing passive security services, such as access control and protection of citizens and property, covert activities, such as spying, gathering of intelligence, and advising local forces, have also been observed.
Addressing the Increase in Human Rights Violations Committed by the Malian Defence and Security Forces and the Wagner Group
James Kariuki, the UK ambassador to the UN Security Council, denounced human rights violations committed by the Russian Wagner Group in Mali. The Wagner Group has been tied to the massacre in Moura that killed hundreds of Malian civilians. MINUMSA has been denied access to this site to conduct an independent investigation.
How the West Can Win Back the Central African Republic
The Central African Republic (CAR) is now an arena of geopolitical conflict involving the new “player” Russia and the former colonial power France. CAR may serve as a blueprint for a reorientation of African states on the world stage, and Russian success is partially based off of frustrations by locals regarding UN and European responses to terrorism threats in the country. Europe can win back influence in CAR by launching a training mission in the country which places locals on equal footing with European partners. Furthermore, Europe needs to move away from prioritizing the military and putting emphasis on a broad-based civil partnership, building up civil society in the country, containing violence, and fostering peaceful coexistence.
Wagner Tactics Push Civilians toward Extremists
The human rights atrocities committed by the Wagner Group in Mali are indicative of a broader trend for Wagner Group activity within Africa. In exchange for security training and assistance in operations, Wagner sometimes receives mining contracts which allow the group to sell gold and other resources for payment. As a result of Wagner’s violence, civilians in Mali are turning to protection from the same extremist groups that the Malian military is targeting, leading to destabilization of the country and the continent.