More than half a thousand mercenaries of the private military company (PMC) Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin left the capital of the Central African Republic and went to Moscow, reports Jeune Afrique.
According to the newspaper, 500–600 fighters were demobilized from Birao, Sido and Batangafo. Two planes have already flown out of Bangui airport. Another one is standing by.
The publication also says that the future stay of Vitaly Perfiliev, the Wagner commandant and adviser to the President of the Central African Republic, in the republic remains in question. The Kremlin decided to replace him and other mercenary handlers in the country – including Aleksandr Ivanov and Russian House director Dmitry Syty – after the Prigozhin mutiny, of which Moscow notified the CAR authorities, Africa Vista wrote.
Perfiliev advises President Faustin-Arkange Touadera on national security issues. The head of state owes his survival to the PMC mercenaries who suppressed an anti-government uprising in 2020. At the same time, Perfiliev is a close friend of Dmitry Utkin, Prigozhin’s right-hand man and co-founder of Wagner.
Despite the fact that the CAR is one of the poorest countries in the world, it has significant reserves of diamonds, gold and uranium. Over 2022, the Wagner PMC has expanded its operations there significantly, including increasing gold production by a multiple, Politico wrote, citing U.S. officials. According to U.S. estimates, just one of the African mines was to bring Prigozhin $1 billion a year.
Russia and the CAR signed a military cooperation agreement in 2018. In February this year, Russian Ambassador to Bangui Alekdandr Bikantov said that 1,890 Russian military instructors were in the republic. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, a few days after Prigozhin’s mutiny, said that such specialists would remain in Africa.
According to the Wall Street Journal, delegations from the diplomatic mission flew to CAR, as well as to Mali and Syria, to assure their partners that the “operations” previously carried out by mercenary forces would continue, but under different leadership.