Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Wagner group faces uncertain future in Africa

Thursday 20/July/2023 - 06:26 PM
The Reference
Mahmud al-Batakoshi

Wagner group faces an uncertain future, especially in Africa, after its attempted coup against Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 24.

The group faces what amounts to an existential challenge, the largest and most serious since its founding.

Its brief coup attempt also posed a threat unprecedented in the political career of President Putin, since he came to power in his country in 1999.

It was Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, who succeeded in defusing the crisis and saving Russia from the spectre of civil war and disintegration.

This came at a time when Wagner troops were at the gates of Russian capital Moscow.



The croup, which was quickly aborted, created a state of anxiety and unease in many countries, especially in Africa where there is reliance on Wagner elements.

Some of the countries of the continent depend on the group for security. This is also where the Russian group enjoys wide influence.

These countries include the Central African Republic and Mali – among others.

Russian affairs specialist, Basil Haj Jassim, said Wagner was created by the Russian intelligence.

It is, he said, an unofficial military arm similar to the America's Blackwater company, aimed at implementing Moscow's plans in Africa and the Middle East.

"This was evident in Syria, Libya and several African countries where the group takes advantage of the weakness of the regular armies," Jassim told The Reference.

He said in Libya, for example, the group protects Russian interests.

In Mali, he added, it plays a role like it does in Burkina Faso, and Sudan.

"The group used to support the regime ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir," Jassim said.

"After Bashir's 2019 ousting, the group maintained close ties with the Rapid Support Forces led Mohamed Hemdan Dagalo," he added.

Wide influence

Jassim pointed out that Wagner has expanded its influence in Africa through a network of companies and alliances that make it able to blur the lines between legitimate and illegal activities.

The group's operations, he said, extend beyond security efforts, to include sectors, such as logging and mining.

"African governments facing financial constraints usually find their way into the services of the group that is paid back by obtaining mining rights or market access privileges," Jassim said.

He expected Wagner's coup attempt in to have major repercussions, ranging from changing geopolitical dynamics to national and regional security calculations formulas.

"It may affect the security stability of some African countries in the long run, if Moscow decides to liquidate the group," Jassim said.

"This will give terrorist groups and organizations a great opportunity to control cities and villages and threaten the security of the continent," he added.