Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and now Africa! The Russian private military company Wagner Group (PMC Wagner Group) began its dirty business on another continent. In order to rebuild and strengthen their position, Russian mercenaries are actively increasing their presence on the African continent, training soldiers in Sudan, the Central African Republic and other African countries, pursuing their own mercantile interests and creating new “hot spots” on the world map.
So who really are PMC Wagner Group? Some experts believe that this structure is a part of the Russian hybrid troops, a peripatetic special unit of the Russian military intelligence or special operations forces of the Russian Federation who disguise themselves as a private company, performing tasks for both the armed forces and special services of the Russian Federation instead.
Russia is using PMC Wagner Group as a part of a hybrid war in other countries, recruiting international mercenaries. But the basis of this structure is retired Russian servicemen who carry out the orders of the Russian command. Mercenaries are being trained in Russian 10th special brigade base of the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Federation. They receive heavy weapons and equipment directly from the storage facilities of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The US State Department recently announced that Russian mercenaries employed by PMC Wagner Group were mistakenly called a Russian private military company because they were in fact a “tool of the Russian government” that Moscow uses as a cheap and risk-free tool to achieve its military, economic and political goals. From the very beginning, PMC Wagner Group have shown close cooperation with the Russian armed forces. For example, in March 2014, PMC Wagner Group helped Russian regular military units seize government offices and disarm Ukrainian army servicemen, acting mainly as an auxiliary force in the Ukrainian peninsula of the Crimea. Further successful occupation of the Crimea inspired Russia to train and engage its mercenaries further in the future. In May-August 2014 at least 1500 Wagner Group militants arrived in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region of Ukraine, continuously attacked the positions of the Ukrainian armed forces and the local population, contrary to international norms and laws of war.
The experience gained in Ukraine has allowed Russia to use PMC Wagner Group as a tool to expand its influence in other regions of the world, notably in Africa. Sources from the world-famous Bloomberg media company claim that Wagner’s mercenaries are currently stationed and operating in ten African countries: Sudan, the CAR, Libya, Zimbabwe, Angola, Madagascar, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Mozambique and probably in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. In exchange for the right to mine minerals (uranium, diamonds, gold, chromium, and natural gas) and supply Russian weapons to African countries, Wagner Group mercenaries guard high-ranking officials, train the military, do dirty work to suppress anti-government riots, and help to organize election campaigns, implementing their agents of influence.
Thus, according to bilateral agreements, in October 2019 Russian leadership sent 200 mercenaries employed by PMC Wagner Group and weapons (Mi-24 combat helicopters, Mi-8 transport and combat helicopters) to Mozambique under the pretext of combating Islamist illegal armed groups in the north of the country in exchange for ensuring access of Russian companies to mine natural resources in Mozambique. Mozambique’s forces had considerable difficulty interacting with PMC Wagner Group and consider them as unreliable forces. It should be noted that having pursued its own interests and having not fulfilled the promises made, Russia, contrary to the agreements, withdrew its mercenaries from Mozambique in April 2020. At the same time, Russian officials continue to conduct an informational campaign aimed to avoid public disclosure of the presence and activities of Russian servicemen and Russian mercenaries in Mozambique.
The world’s leading military experts consider that the results of the gamble project of Russian mercenaries in Syria, Libya, Ukraine and Mozambique could have serious consequences in Africa. As a result of PMC Wagner’s Group brutality, callousness, unreliability and failure to meet its commitments, the governments of Cameroon and Uganda are likely to revise previous agreements with Russia to provide security services to those countries.
Do we really want to see on the territory of the DRC Russian hybrid troops disguised under the PMC Wagner Group, whose activities could lead to destabilization and worsen security situation in our country!?