The Rise Of Russian Mercenaries In Africa

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Russia’s newly formed Africa Corps published the first images of a deployment to Burkina Faso on its Telegram channel. This Russian contingent of 100 people was deployed to ensure the safety of the country’s leader, Ibrahim Traoré. The Government of Ghana publicly alleged that Traoré began collaborating with the Wagner Group following the coup.

KHARTOUM MARCH 2: On Jan. 24 2024, Russia’s newly formed Africa Corps published the first images of a deployment to Burkina Faso on its Telegram channel. According to a statement, this Russian contingent of 100 people was deployed to ensure the safety of the country’s leader, Ibrahim Traoré, and the Burkinabe people from terrorist attacks.

Ibrahim Traoré (born 14 March 1988) is a Burkinabè “military officer” who has been the interim leader of Burkina Faso since the 30 September 2022 coup d’état which ousted interim president Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. The Government of Ghana publicly alleged that Traoré began collaborating with the Wagner Group following the coup, enlisting the mercenaries against the jihadist rebels. On 29 July 2023, Traoré said that the people of his country support Russia, and communicated that a decision had been made to reopen the Russian embassy, which was closed in 1992.

The deployment to Burkina Faso has fueled intense speculation on the restructuring of the Russian private military company Wagner Group’s operations in Africa since the death of its founders, Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, in a plane crash in August 2023.

From the Central African Republic (CAR) to Libya, through Mali and Sudan, Russia has been consistently gaining ground across Africa over the past decade. Moscow owes its successes on the continent in large part to one man, the late Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led the notorious Wagner Group.

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