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While the European Union (EU) announced on November 15 the study of sanctions against the private group Wagner for« Possible » activities in Mali, new revelations from European diplomatic services evoke the passage of at least one battalion from the Central African Republic (CAR) under the direct control of this Russian company of mercenaries, known to be close to the Kremlin.
The Brussels site Observe asserted, Monday, November 29, on the basis of a report drawn up two weeks ago by the European External Action Service (EEAS), that Wagner now leads these troops trained by the Europeans, as part of the EUTM mission RCA. Launched in 2016 and extended until September 2022, this training mission for the security forces involves some 365 people and has an annual budget of some 17 million euros. A civilian advisory mission, EUAM RCA (71 people and an annual budget of € 11.2 million), completes the EU’s action in the country. La Minusca, a UN peacekeeping mission, still brings together nearly 15,000 men.
The Wagner group, referred to as RU / WG by the European rapporteurs, would, for its part, » several hundred « members in the Central African Republic, while 2,600 « Military personnel » Russians would be present there. By fighting the armed rebellion, hostile to the regime of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, Wagner would mainly target a Russian takeover of mineral resources in the west and center of the country, the EEAS report indicates. In the east, Russian forces have been deployed for some time in protected natural areas, but the European service questions their exact goal.
« Assassinations », « rapes » and « torture »
The authors of the document claim that most of the Central African troops present on the ground are now « Under the direct command or supervision of the mercenaries of the Wagner Group ». This one, they continue, also exercises « A strong influence on the command of the Central African armed forces and other government institutions ».
The territorial infantry battalion 7, formed by the EU, would itself be totally under the control of the group, according to the diplomatic service – which also notes the close links between part of the staff of the Central African armies and the Russian officials. The insufficient links with the troops and the controls over them are « Regularly exploited by mercenaries, who therefore use deployed units for their benefit », continues the document.
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