Africa: Russian Mercenary Boss Posts Video, Location Hints at Africa

Cape Town — Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group, made a rare video appearance released on Telegram channels linked to the private military company, Al Jazeera reports.

It was Prigozhin’s first video address since a brief rebellion by his fighters in Moscow, endangering his alliance with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, was quashed.

Details based on Prigozhin’s comments and several posts in pro-Wagner channels suggest that he may be somewhere in Africa as he said: “The temperature is 50+ [at least 122 degrees Fahrenheit] – everything as we like. The Wagner PMC makes Russia even greater on all continents and Africa – more free. Justice and happiness for the African people. We’re making life a nightmare for ISIS [ISIL] and al-Qaeda and other bandits.” Prigozhin  went on to say that Wagner continues to recruit fighters and that the organisation “will fulfill the tasks that were set”.

The Wagner Group is already active in Mali where the company’s fighters were recruited by a military junta in 2021 that ordered French troops, along with United Nations Peacekeepers, to leave the nation after their assisting the Malian military in the battle against Islamist insurgents for over ten years. Further, according to Deutsche Welle, the group has a stake in many lucrative areas in the Central African Republic (CAR), such as the oil and gold mining sectors.

Wagner mercenaries have also protected CAR President Touadera since 2018. Paul Crescent Beninga, a Central African Republic civil society representative, said he was concerned by Wagner’s growing influence. “The Central African Republic is not profiting from these developments,” Beninga told Deutsche Welle. “Rather, the winners are the Russians.”

Crescent  said that the Wagner Group’s interference in CAR’s internal political affairs worries him. “We have reached a point where this undermines the ability of the Central African state to conduct its politics without pressure.”


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